I am an Infectious Disease physician at Baystate Medical Center. In that role I have seen patients infected with diseases that are easily vaccine preventable, some of which include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and measles. Most of the vaccines that we have currently available for communicable diseases offer very high rate of protection.
After reviewing the studies on the COVID-19 vaccine trials and learning how safe and effective these vaccines were, for me it was a no-brainer. Coupled with the fact that as a frontline worker, I have seen too many patients die, most times alone, from COVID-19. I was eager to get the vaccine not just for me but for all my current and future patients.
The vaccine has been a welcomed tool to fight this deadly disease. Vaccinations on a whole protect us from getting sick and the more people that get vaccinated against a particular disease, the less chance that disease has to spread in that vaccinated community.
We have seen many examples of outbreaks that have occurred in communities where the uptake of a particular vaccine has not been quite as robust as we would like from a public health perspective, one example that comes to mind is measles, a disease against which we have had a vaccine for over 40 years. There has still been small clusters of outbreaks of this disease over the years due to unvaccinated people.
I had fully expected my arm to be sore after the vaccine, as with any other vaccine and I also suspected that I may have other minor side effects such as fatigue, fever and joint pains but these were all short-lived and resolved within 24 hours. I was in fact quite happy that these symptoms occurred because it told me that my immune system was doing its job and making antibodies to help protect me from COVID-19.
I know that I cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine and I also know that you are not fully protected until about 2 weeks after the second shot but I was willing to wait patiently. I am continuing with my social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing and I encourage others to do the same.
To all who are skeptical about the vaccine, I say trust the science and get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Trust the science and get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones.
– Dr. Durane Walker, Infectious Disease specialist at Baystate Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School - Baystate