I am dismayed at the volume of people who are claiming a variety of reasons to refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccination. I find this behavior unfounded and disheartening that so many would risk their lives, the lives of their children, family members, co-workers and the general public.
We have eradicated so many diseases — polio, smallpox — and almost eradicated others: measles, mumps, rubella. Many of us carry the small smallpox vaccine scars, and many of us received those vaccines in school. No questions asked, as we were all doing our part to eradicate a very serious infection.
In 2007, we received a call from our daughter, who was visiting friends in Arizona before flying back to Granada, Spain, for her student year abroad, saying she thought she could be getting paralyzed. She was falling down and couldn’t open a water bottle. We immediately told her to get to the infirmary at Arizona State University.
Upon doing so, the well-informed doctor recognized the symptoms and had her immediately see a neurologist, who sent her to the ER. We were on the next flight to Phoenix and arrived at the hospital as they were getting ready to administer a spinal tap. The test came back positive for Guillain-Barré, a rare disorder that attacks the central nervous system. After several days in Barrows Neurological Institute and a rehab hospital, she was able to go back to Spain and the University of Grenada with a cane. She was told not to get a flu shot in the future and to take care if and when she was ill.
She has a wonderful job as the education coordinator for the preschool program with Volunteers Across America in Denver. Because she is also a mother to three energetic boys ages 10-14 who are involved in many sports, she decided to do some research and spoke with an immunologist who told her the COVID-19 vaccine should be fine for her to take since it is a mRNA. She did so knowing that if she did get COVID-19, it could result in a greater chance of long-term illness. Because of her compromised immune system, she did have some harsh side effects that disappeared after a couple of days. But she wanted to be able to come visit her 90-year-young grandmother, participate in her children’s sporting events and feel safe at her job surrounded by so many little ones.
If my daughter can do her research and get the vaccine, then I believe everyone can. If they lose their jobs or can’t go to sporting events, concerts or indoor dining over their refusal, then so be it.