By Zach Lichter
The novel coronavirus has, obviously, dominated the news for the last 18 months since it began spreading. With that has come the loss of 3.3 million lives, 580,000+ of which have died in the United States.
Those statistics are abstract until you find out your family members have COVID-19.
On Jan. 3, my maternal Grandpa Lolo, a doctor, tested positive. His condition would soon deteriorate to the point he was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. He died a week later.
When my grandpa was in the hospital, I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it because he was so unresponsive. It was really painful to see him on the ventilator via FaceTime two days before he passed away and my family in their most difficult moments. My grandma also contracted the virus and was discharged from the hospital the same day her husband died. My aunt tested positive after his funeral and needed to be hospitalized as well.
My grandma and aunt survived but to have three relatives get the virus and suffer such serious cases is hard to imagine.
After my grandpa’s funeral, I decided that I wanted to get the vaccine. My mom, who works in the case management department at Monmouth Medical Center, was able to squeeze me in April 7 thanks to a former coworker. I ended up getting the Pfizer vaccine and my arm was sore the next day. When I came home from Monmouth Medical Center, I decided to announce my vaccination on Facebook and Instagram and dedicate it to my grandfather. I feel like I did my part by protecting others as well as myself. I received my second dose April 28 and am now fully vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about a third of American adults are fully vaccinated and a little under half have received at least one dose. As of early April, anyone over the age of 16 is eligible to be vaccinated and they can go online and book an appointment.
Some people are nervous about getting vaccinated. They think something might happen to them and they don’t know how their body is going to react to it. Other people want to get the vaccine so they can protect others and themselves.
“I got the vaccine because I work at a health care center and it was a requirement,” said Wall High School senior Hunter Pappas. “I was not nervous getting the vaccine. It was like getting the flu shot, nice and easy.”
Like me, Pappas received the Pfizer vaccine and he said he hopes things get back to normal. Depending on the person, some people may experience side effects from their first or second dosage. They can include headache, tiredness, fever, nausea and muscle pain. The side effects are normal and many doctors say that they let people know the vaccine is working. Some people may not even react at all.
“The only reaction I had from the vaccine was a slight headache from the first shot, but the second shot I didn’t feel a thing,” Pappas said.
For people looking forward to the day when things will go back to normal, getting vaccinated is a start and will help protect yourself and others from COVID. Everyone should do their part by going online and looking for a vaccination appointment. Let’s all get vaccinated so everyone can be together sooner.
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