Vaccine: Yes or No?

There is obviously a lot of talk these days about the vaccines that are becoming available against the COVID-19 virus. News varies depending upon where you get the news. Of course, that’s been true for a while now, whether about the pandemic or about politics.

At some point, sooner rather than later because I’ll turn 65 in 2021, I will be able to get the vaccine. The people who have received it already and have mentioned that the only side-effect has been a sore arm have made me a bit hesitant. From having more than one Tetanus shot in my life, I’m well aware that a shot like this will not only make my arm sore, but will cause it to turn a bright red about 1 circular inch around the injection site and the red area will be very hot to the touch for about 3 days, along with slight swelling.

I know that I shouldn’t let this temporary discomfort make me choose not to get the vaccine, but I also know how that discomfort can feel for several days.

Meanwhile, those who have shouted loudly about not wanting to wear a mask are shouting loudly now about not getting the vaccine. I’m hearing a lot of “My body, my choice!”. I have resolved to remain quiet in response to those people, because if they obviously don’t understand that wearing a mask and/or getting the vaccine isn’t just about “YOU” but also about every person you choose to come in contact with, then they obviously aren’t open-minded enough to see anything but what is for them, and to heck with anybody else BUT them!

In a conversation recently, someone mentioned that a colleague was going to opt not to get the vaccine nor allow his two children to be vaccinated. His point was that this vaccine hasn’t been around long enough to know if it will have any long-term side effects or cause damage to the body down the road. And, to be honest, that is a very valid point. At my age, that doesn’t really mean as much to me (my body is slowly falling apart anyhow!), but as a parent, how would it feel to make the decision to have your child become vaccinated, only to find out that it could cause them medical issues down the road and/or for the rest of their life? And that’s true if you’re still a young adult, with the possibility of many more years of your life ahead of you.

After some additional thought about the vaccine, I figured “why the heck not?” and told myself that, when it’s my turn, I’ll get the vaccine.

And then TV started showing actual people getting the vaccine. The camera largely focused on the injection site itself, the pinching of the skin and muscle and the length of the needle. I immediately felt the muscles in my abdomen area tense up, my heart beat faster, and my breathing becoming faster as well. You see, I have never – EVER – looked at the needle before it’s inserted. I get quarterly blood draws for medical tests, and once the needle is in my arm, like seeing the tubes fill up with my blood. I don’t mind watching the needle being withdrawn because I can’t see it over the piece of gauze being held close by to cover the small hole in my skin. I give blood every 56 days to the American Red Cross. The needle is always a bit more painful at insertion because I have ‘rolling veins’ and they sometimes have to dig to get it secure, but once it’s inserted, my eyes can travel to where it is inserted and I have no problem seeing that. I’ve closed my eyes each and every time I’ve had Novocaine for dental work so I don’t see the needle approaching. I just simply never look at the actual needle!

I don’t get an annual flu shot. I had one many years ago, so long ago that I don’t remember how or if I had a reaction to it. Since I’ve never had a case of a respiratory flu (or if I did, it was so mild that I contributed any adverse reactions to my chronic sinusitis), and I have never (again, to the best of my knowledge) had a gastro-intestinal flu. My theory is to adapt the old saying of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

Now, granted, I can look away as the vaccine needle is inserted into my arm, but I saw so many videos on TV that I can’t un-see the look of the needle.

So, now I’m wavering again… I want to be part of the solution to get this virus under control, but honestly, even writing about it here, before it will ever happen, makes my abdomen muscles tighten up and my anxiety to climb.

At this point, I honestly don’t know what I will choose to do when I’m eligible for the vaccine. I am only around other people during my bi-weekly trips to the grocery store. My nail, hair and chiropractic services are all one-on-one, and they are scheduled four or more weeks between each appointment. I believe that I’m at a relatively low risk for contracting the virus, though I understand that there is no 100% guarantee, even with staying home, wearing a mask and social distancing.

Does anyone else share my fear? Does anyone else have simple solutions on ways to overcome this fear? No, I don’t want to hear “just bite the bullet” or “if I can do it, you can do it”. I need good, practical advice I can make my brain believe to help me get through doing it!