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For Dr. Durane Walker, getting the COVID vaccine was a 'no-brainer'

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.



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