This post was developed in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University and NORC at the University of Chicago as part of a Pfizer-funded research study. All thoughts and opinions are always my own.
COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine has nothing to do with politics for me. If that is your position, I’d like to share a bit of my story and why I chose to get the COVID-19 Vaccine. My hope is to remove the lens of politics and divide from the conversation by sharing my heartfelt story.
Where do I begin?
I’ll start with me. I am a two time PE Blood Clot survivor, the last of which left me with permanent lung damage. To say contracting COVID is a major worry for me is an understatement.
My first PE Blood Clot occurrence is also one of the reasons why along with my husband, we chose to vaccinate our children. I was hospitalized with PE Blood Clots when my newborn was just 6 weeks old. During my hospitalization, I lost a precious 11 days with my daughter. I also lost my breast milk supply. But the thing that haunts me the most is that my 6 week old contracted the flu while I was in the hospital. If you’ve never had to take your newborn to the ER for a catheter and x-rays with a diagnosis of the flu in the end, you can’t imagine the pain and worry. In the end, the pediatricians believe that my daughter had some protection against a severe case of the flu because I had been vaccinated against it during my pregnancy. If nothing else, I vowed to do everything I can to protect my children from infections like the flu then and COVID-19 now.
Fast forward to the start of the pandemic, I was immediately alarmed and worried. School was closed down, and to be honest, that made me happy even though I knew remote learning would be hard. But then within one month, I lost someone near and dear to me. A young, healthy, physically fit friend. I was destroyed. I can’t fully share how that felt and even how I feel about that now. Since then, I have lost several more friends and a few relatives.
With all of this, I was eager to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines. Knowing more than 10 of the 888 thousands Americans that have died from COVID-19 was more than enough reason for me to seek out the vaccine. Also, knowing that Black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to White Americans, it was important to me to get vaccinated and have the children’s vaccine conversation with my husband. We both agreed that based on our own health risks, the age and health of our parents and the health of our children, the vaccine was the best for us.
I hope that my story encourages someone on the fence about the vaccine or feeling ashamed for whatever reason about considering the COVID-19 vaccine to do what they feel is best for their family. The vaccine has certainly saved lives and I wish my lost loved ones had a chance to get it.