For my thoughts about working during a global pandemic, click here to purchase a copy of Thoughts In A Pandemic.
I have been in healthcare for almost a decade.
I am the daughter of healthcare professionals. Even as of this posting, thanks to the urging of my best friend, my mother (and all the nurses I work with at my day job!), I am pursuing nursing school again.
Let me insert a humblebrag here: it will be my second Bachelor’s degree. But, let’s move on.
I didn’t want to get the COVID-19 vaccine! I thought the process was rushed, I thought about the possibility of variants (and they are popping up now!), and I just didn’t trust the administration of Orange Thanos. On top of that, I remember my history. I know my history.
I know about the Black women that were experimented on for the sake of gynocology.
I remember the Tuskegee Experiment.
I know about the Freedman Hospitals.
I am aware of the history that medicine, under the guise and submitted to the full power of racism, has done to Black people: bond and free. I understand that my body, my sex, and my existence has been more valued as Guinea pig and corpse rather than sentient woman. I am keenly aware of this.
And yet, I called my mother the week the announcement was made at my employer that we would be getting the Pfizer vaccine (which is 2 shots). I remember thinking, “I don’t want to get this.” I was scared. I was unsure–and then I had to look on the flipside of this. If I didn’t get it and was exposed–what would happen?!
I am a single mother of two daughters. My oldest daughter, aware of my job, cried on my bed and thought I was going to die because I had to go to work! I thought about my mom, my friends, but…I truly thought about my daughters. And that was humbling. In calling my mother, I told her about the shot. I gave her all the information that I had at the time, and told her point blank that I wasn’t going to take it! I told her, “Mama, it’s too quick!”
Now, let me back up a little.
In December of 2020, the time after the election and before the Capitol Riot, Orange Thanos was trying to save face! He had gotten COVID-19 after denying it was real; after denying Dr. Fauci a chance to speak; after contracting COVID-19 AND ALMOST DYING–he put pressure on the FDA in order to rush the approval of the vaccine! I was not comfortable trusting the word, the motivations and actions of an administration that gutted the CDC and thought a drug to treat Lupus would help with this! My mother, the retired 40-year nurse, told me this: “Take the vaccine and pray about it.”
I don’t know why this helped, I cannot explain the magic of the assurance of your mother when you are almost 40, but that helped! And what also helped is knowing that Black women we instrumental in getting this vaccine created. That helped. Immensely! So, about a week after Christmas 2020, I went to get my shot. I had symptoms for 2 days, and was fine. I had fatigue, body ache, a headache–and even a quit bout of diarrhea (it’s true!). My arm hurt for 2 days, and by Day 3? I felt better. I took my second shot about 3 weeks later–and had to go to work that night!–and only had body aches.
For 8 hours.
But my symptoms were mild compared to other people I knew. But I don’t regret it. I don’t regret being scared. I don’t regret questioning. I don’t regret researching! I don’t regret calling my mom, even!
I understand vaccination of this sort is personal to some people–and I even understand people who don’t want to wear masks after vaccination. I don’t agree, but I understand. But just know, decisions–good and ill–have consequences. Masks shouldn’t be political–they should be preventative! Vaccinations are meant to serve the public good and public health!
I applaud what President Biden is doing. I am grateful for it! I just want–for once!–the American people realize that hubris is murderous at this point. And who wants to be that person not invited out because you won’t put a mask on? That just makes us think you don’t wash your hands either.
Don’t be that person.
Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Get your shot.
Your future self will thank you.