Personal COVID-19 Vaccine Experiences

COVID-19 vaccinations have begun here in Utah, and healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, first responders, and K-12 teachers and school staff have been the first to be vaccinated. Perhaps you’ve been seeing their personal experiences with the vaccine as you’ve scrolled through your social media feed, or maybe someone close to you has chosen to get vaccinated.

But in case you haven’t yet had the opportunity to listen to someone’s personal experience with the COVID-19 vaccine, we have the stories of a World War II veteran, two healthcare workers, and a teacher – all Utahns who live, work, and play in our beautiful state – who chose to be vaccinated. They share their own thoughts and experiences with the pandemic, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.


Wayne

“I’m 99 years old, and I’m a World War II Veteran. I’m very excited about this vaccine. I’m tired of being quarantined! I’ve wanted to get out and about again.”

We’ve all got to get the vaccine if we’re going to get on top of this problem we’ve got. I know it’s the thing to do, it’s safe, and it’s going to help us all. It’s been developed by a lot of people who know what they’re doing. It’s been processed and okayed by the government. We’ve had all kinds of inoculations as we’ve gone through our lives. We’ve had polio, scarlet fever, and now it’s COVID-19. 

I’ve received vaccines and inoculations for all of these other diseases. There was absolutely no difference in the COVID-19 vaccine – it was just like any other shot. My family is all excited about me getting the vaccine. I think everybody wants to get vaccinated. Everybody’s excited about it, they’re just waiting their turn. 

I’d recommend getting the vaccine as soon as possible. It’s the only way that we’re going to get on top of what’s going on right now, so we can get back to normal.” 


Whitney

“Getting the vaccine is important to me because as a healthcare worker, I am putting myself at higher risk by coming into contact with those who have COVID-19. I can say there have been plenty of times this year that I’ve come home from work and then I’ve gotten a call, gone back to work the next day and the patient that I just took care of for 12 hours had developed symptoms, gotten tested and was COVID-19 positive. 

I’m a leukemia and bone marrow transplant nurse. The patients I work with are either on chemotherapy or they’re getting a bone marrow transplant to treat their blood cancer. They’re definitely those people who need that herd immunity, because their disease and treatment is destroying their ability for their immune systems to work properly, and they can’t get vaccinated during their treatment. Somebody who’s getting a bone marrow transplant and gets COVID-19, they have to be isolated and treated for almost 3 times longer than somebody who has a healthy immune system and gets COVID-19. 

I can’t even begin to explain the loneliness and the heartbreak that these patients have to endure being by themselves, because they’re too at-risk to be with family and friends. Family and friends in the past are their support system for getting through this terrible, devastating diagnosis of leukemia. I think that everyone just needs to recognize that we have the power to protect everyone in our community who can’t be vaccinated. We make that choice as a community and as Utah, to come together and make our community safer and healthier. 

I know that there’s a lot of politics and conspiracy theories wrapped up in the vaccine story line, but I’ve done my own research. The vaccine was developed quickly because we had that technology and we were able to use the mRNA vaccine. Even though it was pushed forward really fast, the FDA didn’t skip out on the steps that they follow. They have a really strict methodology of developing vaccines and medications, and I know that none of those steps were skipped in the development of the vaccine. Every measure was put in to make sure this was developed safely and effectively. I trust the science behind the development of this vaccine, and I trust those that developed it.”


Kim

“I work as a medical assistant in a pediatric and family care office. My sister works for the Utah Department of Health as part of the coronavirus task force, my sister-in-law works at Bear River Health Department, and I work in a healthcare setting where I am exposed to coronavirus almost daily. Because of this I have been given the opportunity to have a very unique perspective on COVID-19. 

It’s so much more than just “survival rates” and “comorbidities.” It has changed our family in more ways than I can count. There have been numerous nights I spent in tears wondering if today was the day I’d bring it home to my husband and kids. There has been so much anxiety over my high-risk parents or grandparents getting it (my mom did, and she kicked its ass!). There have been so many times I was physically sick at the thought of my loved ones fighting a battle that I couldn’t hold their hand through. There have been so many days I come home absolutely exhausted from work and was incapable of giving enough time or attention to my family. 

When I first heard we were getting one of the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccines I was hesitant. I was scared. In November, I had my second dose of the pneumococcal vaccine (pneumovax23) and had an allergic reaction. My arm hurt so bad I couldn’t move it, my back and neck muscles started spasming, I got a rash, fever, and my face started going numb. It was scary. 

But despite that, I still got my COVID-19 vaccine on December 28, 2020. My doctor and I discussed the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine with my medical history and came up with a plan to avoid having a reaction like I did before. And I am happy to report I am feeling great!

I got the vaccine for my family. I got it for my friends. I got it for my sister. I got it for my coworkers, for my patients, and most of all I got it for you. I got it to protect the people I come into contact with from getting coronavirus from me. You see, protecting myself as best as I can has never been about me. It has always been about you.”


Noelle

“I’m proud to say that I received the COVID-19 vaccine as a teacher in the Davis School District. Educators are one of the many groups of people who have been willing to put themselves on the line in the face of this pandemic, and although our government and health department workers put practical and important safeguards in place, it was often worrisome to work all day in crowded classrooms. Receiving this vaccine not only made me feel like I’m part of history, but also that I’m contributing to the health and well-being of our community and participating in moving us forward.”


For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, distribution, safety, side effects and more, please visit coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine