Happily Vaccinated

A lover science, I got my last jab a few weeks ago. The long wait is over. I’m happy to have a bit of resistance to one of the world’s biggest problems. It means a return to community hugs. Remember those? It will be a while before more people find the confidence, data and will to get the Covid vaccine, but I’m part of the Avant-garde, grateful to bravely lead the way for our society. Our family is part of the data, modeling and informed consent that protects people from slow death by suffocation and isolation. I’m grateful to play my part. It’s my civic duty—along with voting, advocating for social justice and environmental stewardship.

Vaccination is an investment in myself and my community. It’s my way of showing how much I care.

Getting the vaccine has reduced a great deal of personal stress. I feel more able to be around other people, especially those who don’t respect my personal space. Usually, these are strangers, on the hiking trail, in the grocery store or in public spaces. I have much less anxiety about exposure and illness now that I’m vaccinated. That’s important, because I’ve had too many ACEs, adverse childhood experiences that predispose me to illness and a weak immunity. That’s been true all my life. As a child, I had painful recurring Strep throat, ear infections and colds every winter without fail.

Being sick that often means that I missed school, went to the doctor quite a bit and took antibiotics every year. Over the years, with home ownership and stability, that means a bit less illness, and yet, my susceptibility to airborne illnesses is notable. My recovery time is slower, too. I don’t like this, but in the past there was little I could do. I’m glad to finally have permission to wear a mask in public whenever and wherever I want. That’s like a small blessing from COVID-19 —a strange kind of freedom to protect myself from elements in my environment that may cause me harm. It feels cleaner and neater to wear a nice mask and smile with my eyes as I always have than to get sick when a careless person sneezes on me or left behind germs on a counter unintentionally. I can sanitize my hands regularly, and it doesn’t insult my friends.

As an immigrant from an relatively poor country, I see access to healthcare, science information and vaccines as a glorious privilege. Needing and wanting care and being unable to get it, seems like one of the worse situations in life. It’s why I love America: It’s not always fair, but eventually we get resources that others wait years to access. It’s a small blessing that we have access to three different vaccines in America. It’s a source of pride and privilege that is a huge responsibility. Until we’re able to share our abundance, I encourage everyone to learn about and get the vaccine. If you’re not willing to get a vaccine for any reason, you can now adopt the practice of wearing a mask to show love and respect for your fellow citizens.

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