It’s not all the time that members of my family agree on one thing.
But when the topic of Covid-19 vaccines came up during dinner, everyone expressed willingness to get jabbed.
My grandparents on both sides were the first ones to receive it, then my parents and aunts.
Before long, many people I know (as well as most Filipinos) were either waiting in line or have completed their doses (myself included).
Even idols I follow have had their first and second doses.
I remember my mom saying that the brand of the vaccine doesn’t matter, as long as it can protect us from the deadly and contagious virus.
But even as vaccines work, based on validated data and information from health experts, there are still people who are hesitant, if not anxious about getting vaccinated.
It’s normal to be cautious of what put in our bodies to ward off sickness — especially vaccines that were rushed to stop the spread of the virus.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/ NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
In an article on houstonmethodist.org, psychologist Dr. William Orme said: “There are plenty of ‘what-ifs’ a person could ask themselves before getting vaccinated. What if I have uniquely bad side effects? What if they rushed things too much? What if there are long-term side effects we don’t yet know about? All of these what-ifs can, understandably, contribute to anxiety.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccine “protects one from harmful diseases, before coming into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.”
There are side effects but these are said to be minor or temporary.
I experienced chills and had a sore arm after my vaccination. Meanwhile, a co-worker had to rest for a day. Other family members had mild fever. It’s different for everyone.
WHO added that more serious side effects are possible, “but extremely unlikely… The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks, and many more illnesses and deaths would occur without vaccines.”
Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Janssen are the vaccine brands with emergency use authorization approvals from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.
But getting jabbed doesn’t mean we’re safe from the virus. Stepping outside the house to report for work, attend in-person meetings, or just plain hanging out with friends and officemates all pose risks.
VACCINES work. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/ HAKAN NURAL
While everyone I know is open about their vaccination status, others may not. I think asking people if they’ve been vaccinated, however awkward, is necessary for everyone’s safety.
Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in an article on cnbc.com that talking about it is a hard conversation topic, but needs to be normalized.
“We have to remember that this is not an individual problem, this is something that we face as a population, as a community, as a workplace, as a school, and as a family,” said Althoff.
Be polite and respectful. Avoid being accusatory or confrontational.
Jackson Higginbottom, MPH, Covid-19 communications coordinator at the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, said in an article on verywellhealth.com: “You should never ask someone about their vaccination status with the intent to debate or shame them into getting vaccinated.”
He added: “You should ask open-ended questions to explore their concerns and identify the source of their information. Once you have a better understanding of the questions they have in mind, you can ask permission to share information from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the local health department that addresses their concerns.”
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