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How I overcame my COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

Reading up more about the vaccine made me confident that I was making the right decision to get vaccinated.

Low Jia Ying

Can be found watching true crime documentaries or tending to my growing collection of houseplants.


Published: 19 May 2021, 1:54 PM

Two weeks ago, I received a text message from the Ministry of Health (MOH) saying that I’ve been nominated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

I was really surprised at first, since the vaccine rollout at that time was extended primarily to those aged 45 and above. And as a university student, I was nowhere near that age.

My university hostel group chat was blowing up with messages expressing the same confusion I had as most of my hostel friends had received the text too. 

Our hostel later informed us that we were nominated as part of the effort to vaccinate university hall residents.

 

The text message I received from MOH, telling me that I could register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LOW JIA YING

 

While some of my friends immediately jumped to book the soonest appointment available, I was a lot more hesitant.

I was acutely aware of all the doubts surrounding the development and efficacy of the vaccine. Seeing remarks online like “The vaccine was developed way too quickly, how can I trust that it’s safe?”, or reading stories about fully vaccinated people getting infected with COVID-19 all added to my hesitancy towards the vaccine.

After all, these seemed like compelling reasons to not get vaccinated. How could I be certain that I was making the right decision to get vaccinated? Am I taking unnecessary risks to my health by getting this vaccine?

Even wild conspiracies like how the vaccine rollout is all a ploy by Bill Gates to implant microchips into people added to the whole fog of fear surrounding the vaccines. 

My own circle of friends wasn’t spared from having these doubts as well. A few of them even vowed to never take the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

It is easy to trust misinformation and conspiracies circulating online, but we need to exercise better judgement when choosing what to believe. PHOTO CREDIT: OBI ONYEARDOR VIA UNSPLASH

 

But I knew that in order to make an informed decision, I had to go beyond just listening to my friends or online rhetoric.

I read up more extensively about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and realised that most of the doubts I had were unfounded.

For one, the fact that the vaccines were developed quickly does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe. I discovered that because of the huge amount of investment put into developing the COVID-19 vaccine, companies could have the resources to work on various aspects of vaccine production at once, rather than wait for streams of funding to come in before progressing to the next stage.

And although it is true that you can get infected after receiving the vaccine, it still greatly reduces your risk of getting infected. Even if you do, having the vaccine means that you will experience less severe symptoms.

This was an important reason for me, especially considering that if many people were to experience severe symptoms, the healthcare system may get overloaded, which was what led to the healthcare collapse in India

 

Having less severe symptoms means that you free up medical resources for people who may need them. PHOTO CREDIT: LEVI MEIR CLANCY VIA UNSPLASH

 

I also read that taking the vaccine means that I am less likely to transmit the virus to others around me. This would mean that I would protect some of my friends and family who were unable to get vaccinated because of medical reasons. 

After conducting this research, I decided that the benefits outweighed any potential costs, and I should get vaccinated. I felt that I was making the right choice.

(And just in case there’s anyone wondering, the Bill Gates microchipping conspiracy has been debunked as well.)

Feeling more confident in my decision, I booked an appointment to receive the Moderna vaccine at a nearby community centre.

 

Pro tip: book an appointment on a weekday afternoon for less waiting time! PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LOW JIA YING

 

The process went really smoothly! Medical professionals made sure that I was suitable for the vaccine and carefully explained to me what potential side effects I may experience after receiving my dose.

There was also a compulsory 30 minute observation period to ensure that I was not experiencing any extreme side effects before I was allowed to leave.

 

Another perk of getting vaccinated: receiving a huge bottle of hand sanitizer. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/LOW JIA YING

 

The injection left me with a sore arm and some lethargy for a couple of days. But it was a small price to pay for all the benefits that I’ll be getting because I’m vaccinated against COVID-19.

I’m glad that I took the effort to do my own research about the vaccine and came to the decision that I did. It would have been a shame to let my chance to get vaccinated go by if I had given in to my fears and doubts.

If you find yourself in the same situation as I was in, unsure if you should take up the opportunity to get vaccinated, try reading up more on your own and you may find that you have a lot less to worry about!

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