Hope for a brighter future starts with the COVID-19 vaccine

The end of the pandemic is in sight. But this is the time to double-down on protecting ourselves and others.

I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine last week. I was surprised how nervous and excited I felt while I waited to be ushered into an exam room to get my vaccination. I’ve never felt so thrilled about getting a shot!

After the injection, I sat in the long hallway at The Everett Clinic in Mill Creek and waited 15 minutes while a nurse walked up and down the hall to monitor us for any allergic reactions. I was impressed by how well the vaccination clinic ran.

For the first time within the last year, I could imagine the end of the pandemic as millions of the world’s citizens receive their COVID-19 vaccination. My hope for a brighter future soared.

My kids told me they breathed a sigh of relief when I mentioned I was receiving my first dose. “We were worried about you, Dad,” my youngest daughter said. She called me right after my shot to ask me how I was doing. It never occurred to me that my adult daughters would worry about me. As their dad, it was always my job to be concerned about them. It was a surprise to think that they might fret about me.

I’m community-minded, so I signed up with the Center for Disease Control’s website to monitor reactions to the vaccine (vsafe.cdc.gov). This smartphone-based tool allows you to report reactions, provides personalized health check-ins after you receive your vaccination, and reminds you to get your second dose. Participation not only helps me, but it provides a database to further monitor the impact of the vaccines. So far, so good — only a mildly sore arm and a little fatigue. Otherwise, I’m fine.

It’s been a long year filled with uncertainty, worry, fatigue and loss. I read about the hospitals in California, filled to capacity, and imagine the anxiety of family members who wait to hear about their sick relatives. I worry about my daughter and her family who live in California. What would happen if she and her husband got sick? Who would take care of our grandchildren?

As more of us receive the vaccine, we will all experience less worry about our families and friends spread across the country.

We’ve all been in this same, leaky boat for so many months. The end is in sight. But this is the time to double-down on protecting ourselves and others.

When your turn comes up, please schedule a vaccination. If you have questions, log onto www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/vaccine to learn more. Don’t let fear or mistrust keep you from contributing to your own health and to the well-being of our community.

Paul Schoenfeld is a clinical psychologist at The Everett Clinic. His Family Talk blog can be found at www.everettclinic.com/health-wellness-library.html.

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