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Stop procrastinating and get vaccinated

By Holly Taylor

After twiddling my thumbs for far too long, I have finally joined millions of other Americans in being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In all honesty, I intended to do it sooner. I understand the benefits of the vaccine and the vital part it plays in getting things back to some semblance of normal. I was very eager to get the vaccine, so I could add another layer of protection from the virus outside of mask wearing, extra hand washing, and social distancing.

But I was also busy.

I know, I know. It’s a common excuse. But it was actually true. Things have been so hectic that I felt like taking time for a quick vaccine appointment would put me behind schedule on everything I was working on. Of course, another excuse was just that I wasn’t sure how the experience was going to turn out. I’ve heard about a lot of different side effects of the vaccine from people I know who got it before I did. It was easy to talk myself out of going sooner because I had no idea what my specific experience was going to be like.

In May, however, I finally decided that I had been procrastinating long enough. I was busy but not TOO busy to make a trip to the Northampton County Health Department. I had to be responsible enough to make a good decision for my health, even if I was a bit anxious about the unknowns.

So I scheduled my first appointment for the Moderna vaccine on a Friday afternoon. Even though I knew getting the shot itself would be easy and simple, I was still kind of anxious about it.

But getting the first shot was a breeze. The staff at the Northampton Health Department were friendly and helpful, and put me at ease. It didn’t take long at all before I received my first vaccine dose and was on my way home again for the weekend without the anxiety from beforehand.

I did, however, make the mistake of pushing open a heavy door with my just-vaccinated arm not long after the shot, so my arm ended up being extra sore until Sunday. No fun!

Then came the waiting game….four weeks until I could go back and get my second shot to complete the vaccination. It felt like the longest four weeks of my life!

I admit I took even more care than usual to avoid people and wear my mask as securely as possible if I was out and about. I didn’t want to take the chance of catching COVID-19 when I was so close to the “finish line.”

Last Friday, I went back again for my second shot. And again, the experience at the health department was very easy and not stressful at all. I wasn’t even anxious beforehand like I was the first time. There were fewer unknowns for me this time around.

I was fully prepared to spend the weekend sleeping and reading, since everyone said the second shot would have me feeling a little worse than the first one. But I somehow got lucky enough that my only side effect was the usual dull ache in my arm.

And I’m very relieved now to have that weight off my shoulders and one less thing to worry about. I am as protected as I can be from the pandemic. And every person who gets vaccinated helps to protect our immune-compromised friends and family who are not able to receive a shot themselves for various medical reasons.

I just wanted to share my experience here for anyone else out there who may still be procrastinating on getting your shot, for whatever reason. Though our COVID cases locally are going down, our vaccination numbers should still be climbing in the opposite direction.

The benefits to the vaccine are numerous. It reduces the number of severe cases of COVID which result in hospitalizations and deaths. You can safely start gathering again with larger groups of people without having to wear a mask. And we reduce the number of virus mutations by vaccinating as many people as possible too.

Now that I’ve received my vaccine, I’m ready to fully enjoy my summer. How about you?

Holly Taylor is a staff writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.