I don’t really understand why so many people seem to be against getting vaccinated for COVID, I’m vaccinated and I’m glad that is out of the way.

In my experience, healthy people should be vaccinated against diseases that can cause sickness and death. For the past one hundred years, we have been able to vaccinate our families to protect early death in children from diseases that previously had been as common as a cold.

 We seem to be unaware of how bad the past really was. In 1800 the health conditions were such that 43% of the world’s newborns died before their 5th birthday. In 2015 the child mortality rate had declined to 4.5%. WOW! That is a big jump and we can thank vaccines for that.

Of course as a new mom I did not think twice about having my children vaccinated. The MMR; measles, mumps and rubella, was scheduled as well as whatever my pediatrician advised.

I recall a debate being held regarding whether children should get a chicken pox shot. Most kids got it during the younger years and took a few sick days, then it was back to school. Some moms even exposed their children to infected kids so that their youngsters would get it over with. Some kids were immune. I thought maybe I was.

Then, I had chicken pox in the spring of 10th grade. It was hideous and embarrassing. I had scabs all over, on my head, ears, face, arms YUCK! I went back to school in June with long sleeves to hide the marks. But that is not why I had my kids vaccinated.

I taught as a resource room specialist in a school in California before I had children. There was a sweet little girl in one class who was confined to a wheelchair. She did not have arms or legs but only stumps. She seemed bright and happy and academically did well. One day I asked the classroom teacher what had happened. I was shocked to learn that this sweet child has lost her limbs due to a complication from chicken pox.

Science had developed a vaccine to prevent us from getting chicken pox and I saw no need for my kids to have to take the chance of getting sick and possibly taking a turn for the worst.

That is what I feel the COVID vaccine does. It prevents me from getting this disease.

Now, I am a relatively healthy adult so maybe if I got it, my symptoms could be minor. In fact, maybe in the past year I had it and was asymptomatic showing no outward signs of an infection. Unfortunately that is what happened early on during this pandemic. The carriers did not know they were carrying the disease and spread it to friends and relatives unknowingly. Think Typhoid Mary.

Healthy people should get the vaccine to protect not only themselves, but to protect people who may not be healthy enough to get the vaccine.

Now if you don’t want to go simply because you don’t like needles, shots make you faint and your heart rate increases I can completely understand.

For my first Pfizer shot I went to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. Since I was traveling by plane to Colorado, I was anxious to get vaccinated before boarding a crowded plane. The airports insisted on mask wearing and Delta still kept the middle seat open, but I wanted to be safe.

I tried unsuccessfully to change the location of my second shot, so my husband drove me the hour through traffic to the racetrack again and I entered at my scheduled time. I obediently waited in a line to get into the main area, 6 feet apart with masks on. When my turn came, I headed over to table 23 and spoke first with a helper who checked the computer for my name and filled out my vaccination card with the second date. Next I scooted to the end of the L shaped table where a young male nurse dabbed my arm with an alcohol covered cotton ball.

The nurse proceeded to tell me that supplies were low today and he had to wait for one of the uniformed soldiers to bring over a needle. This is when my mom came through. She was a talker. She talked to everyone and made lively jokes and conversation. I was nervous. So I started talking. I asked some questions and then I offered some random amusing information like the fact that I fainted in high school when I got a cortisone shot for poison ivy.

Well, the cute male nurse suddenly looked very worried. I was a potential fainter. This apparently happened last week and the poor patient had passed out walking to the waiting area. This would not happen on his watch.

He told me to sit tight as he scurried away. So for about 5 minutes I got to sit quietly and watch needles go into arms at the other tables surrounding me. Nothing like watching people get shots to calm your nerves.

He came back with the head nurse who then both escorted me across the racetrack betting area to a makeshift hospital with curtains and cots. I assured them that I would be fine, this was the second shot, but they insisted I lay down for the procedure. They told me how brave I was to let them know and they watched me lay there for 15 minutes. I felt ridiculous.

Meanwhile in the parking lot, Pete watched as cars came and went. I was gone for a long while. My vigilant protector watched the clock carefully and when time was up, I was allowed to slowly sit. He gathered a fellow scout and cautiously escorted me out of the building.

Pete was happy to see me even if a bit confused why I was gone so long. My arm didn’t hurt at all the first day, but was a bit sore on days 2 and 3.

Anyway, that is over and I am looking forward to a world where I can go out to eat in restaurants, meet friends and maybe even go to a party soon. It will be worth it if the numbers of people hospitalized with COVID goes down so much that we can all go back to normal. I need to start enjoying my retirement. But normal may still look a bit different for a while.

What do you think? Get a shot or not.