This interview was conducted in the summer of 2021, prior to booster recommendations and organizational decisions regarding employee vaccination status.
Christina Caldwell, RN, Med/Surg Nurse, Baptist Health Richmond
Why did you decide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? I decided to receive the vaccine at the time because of what I was seeing taking care of COVID-19 patients. I was seeing a lot of illness. Initially, I was apprehensive about the vaccine, as a lot of people were. I wasn’t the first nurse to get on board. I waited about a week or so, and then I decided it was right and I needed to do this. Just seeing the level of illness at that time was really frightening, and I wanted to be safe and I wanted to keep my family safe.
What would you like to say to those are who hesitant to receive the vaccine? I would say to someone who is thinking about receiving the vaccine and is fearful, I think it’s very safe to do it. I would say to anyone who wants to get the vaccine and hasn’t yet, catching COVID-19 would be far worse than having a vaccine reaction. Getting vaccinated gives you that sense of protection. Getting the vaccine is so much safer and so much better than possibly suffering from COVID and not really knowing how it will impact your body or your family. Go ahead and get vaccinated so you can be safe and keep your family safe.
What would you say to those who are worried about the Emergency Use Authorization or side effects? Our country has a wonderful history of vaccinations. They have kept us safe and remedied so much illness for us in the past. They are something we have all benefited from for years now. So though this was a quick-moving vaccination, I would like to think that in 2021, we have the knowledge to create vaccines faster. A lot of red tape was removed in order for us to receive this vaccine faster. The side effects are very similar to those from the flu shot, a vaccination that’s been around for a very long time. The symptoms of COVID-19 can be far worse.
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What would you say to those who think it may not matter if they don’t get the vaccine? The more people get vaccinated, the more freely we can move around. The sooner we can get rid of the dangerous effects of COVID-19 and what it’s doing to people. Getting the vaccine will help us get back to our normal activities. The more people who get vaccinated, the safer we will be.
What made you feel safe to get the vaccine? I felt safe after conversations I had with a few doctors. I was fearful of the side effects, if the risks would outweigh the benefits. A couple of the doctors sat down and gave great explanations of how the vaccine works in the body. After that, I felt very relieved, and I trusted their opinion. It made perfect sense to me scientifically as a nurse. Then, I was willing to take the vaccine.
What were your worries and how did you work through them? My concerns about the vaccine were possible side effects, particularly long-term side effects that perhaps couldn’t be anticipated. But again, through conversations with doctors I trusted, they put me at ease. I realized that the benefits absolutely outweighed the risks.
What was the significance of this vaccine to you? I had such a sense of relief. Getting it for me was about making sure I wouldn’t get sick or pass anything on to my immediate family in a way I couldn’t anticipate. It means the ability to get back to normal activities like travel and enjoying our lives.
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