When you work in healthcare, it seems a little bit hypocritical declining vaccines that allow you to participate in herd immunity (for free) in order to potentially save you and patient lives. I admit, as a healthcare worker, I feel bad not getting the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it came out amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. However, there is this slight worry and wariness I have about this experimental vaccine that keeps me from putting it in my body.
There are good stories and there are bad stories across the internet that people have encountered after they got the experimental Covid-19 vaccine. I’m sure side effects are entirely personal and dependent on how strong one’s immune system is at the time of getting the vaccine, but I am still not convinced it is for me.
I have felt the pressure at work both from patients and colleagues upon them hearing I declined (or am waiting until then) to get this experimental vaccine. Believe it or not, I have been pressured to get it by a provider, and by pressure, I meant talked into getting it. However, I am not caving in.
What Is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is also known as SARS-Cov-2 and the Wuhan virus. /CO (Corona) Vi (virus) D (disease)/. Nowadays, people refer to it loosely (which I think is a misnomer) as coronavirus. However, there are many types of coronaviruses and Covid-19 is just one of them. It is a novel coronavirus, meaning it is a new virus (seen in humans) and is believed to have originated from an animal and then transferred to a human.
The first case reported of Covid-19 infection in humans was in Wuhan, China on December 2019. Unfortunately, millions have been infected (and many have died) and is still being infected around the globe.
How Does Covid-19 Spread?
Covid-19 Can Spread via Contact With Surfaces
When infected droplets from an infected person land on surfaces, the virus can survive without its host for hours to days. When someone gets in contact with this infected surface and then touches their mouth or eyes, the virus can then enter the body and infect the new host.
Covid-19 Can Spread via Respiratory Droplets
According to the CDC website, Covid-19 spreads from person-to-person through close contact (within 6 feet from each other) via respiratory droplets such as when someone sneezes or talks.
Covid-19 Can Spread via Airborne Droplets
The virus can remain suspended in the air for quite some time too, which makes it airborne at this point. This usually occurs in closed-up spaces such as rooms where there isn’t much ventilation going on.
Why I Declined The Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine
I declined the experimental Covid-19 vaccine because of what its current state is right now: experimental. I am not an anti-vaxxer nor am I against Science (heck, I work in healthcare and I’ve received numerous other vaccines), but when a pandemic gets politicized, you yourself must be curious and wary. There’s something fishy here; I know it, I’m pisces (pun intended).
Based from other people’s horrifying and painful experiences with the vaccine, I would say the benefits of not getting it far outweigh the side effects of getting it. According to Dr. Simone Gold, a board certified emergency physician, the odds of survival without treatment from Covid-19 is ~99%. What does this mean to me? It means that even without the vaccine, I have a 99% chance of surviving and recovering from the virus. You might say, “Well, what if you become one of the 1% then?” Well, that’s a chance I am willing to take. However, I’d like to point out that 1% is a really low chance given all of our masking and goggling up during these times. This varies by age and drops to 95% if you are aged 70 or older.
At work, I have heard of individual stories from colleagues who took it and the myriad of awful aches and pains they’ve had. ALL (100%) of my co-workers (RNs, doctors, medical assistants, etc.) who took the experimental Covid-19 vaccine had at least some form of adverse effect ranging from a pounding headache to miserable fevers, and sometimes even chills. Below is a list of the side effects they have had. Note: Not all of them had everything in the list.
- Limited range of motion on vaccinated arm due to pain
- Myalgia (one of them described it as if she had been “hit by a truck”)
- Nasal drips/runny nose
In addition to these side effects, there has been a “pause” in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. This information was released on the CDC website on April 13, 2021. Apparently, 6 women aged between 18-48 have developed a “rare and severe type of blood clot (CDC Website, 2021)” after receiving the said vaccine. Out of the million doses administered, this looks like a very minute number, but I’m not in the field of gambling. Another hard pass for me, thanks.
Judging by the myriad of side effects this experimental vaccine presents, I would like to decline for now and maybe sometime in the near future, when it is no longer experimental and when there is enough research and study proving benefits of the vaccine (minus the side effects), I might be open to getting it just like the flu vaccine.
CDC Website. (2021, April 13). Joint CDC and FDA statement on Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. Retrieved April 14, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0413-JJ-vaccine.html
CDC Website. (2020, September 1). About covid-19. Retrieved February 9, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cdcresponse/about-COVID-19.html
Edwards, S. (2021, January 28). Anecdotal experiences: c.v.v. Prezi. Retrieved February 9, 2021 from https://prezi.com/i/gw4zv2c_cwrb/anecdotal-experiences-cvv/
Gold, S. (n.d.). Vaccine information. America’s Frontline Doctors. Retrieved February 9, 2021 from https://www.americasfrontlinedoctors.com/vaccines/