Victoria administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Kae Reed on March 22. (Image: Cleo Reed)

I totally understand not trusting the government, any government. Being a guinea pig in a massive medical experiment is not something most people want to do.

I did it anyway. I signed up last week as a massage therapist; something that California allows. I put my faith in my scientist friends who said there is no reason not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A year ago I wasn’t sure if/when I would get this vaccine, which at the time didn’t even exist. I was on the fence and leaned toward waiting, as opposed to lining up in the first few months.

I started doing some research, talking to people. None of the vaccines approved by the federal government contain the live virus. That mattered to me.

Workers ensure recipients are who they say they are. (Image: Cleo Reed)

Some basics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: “The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.”

Get your info from reliable sources, from doctors who understand infectious diseases. Go online to learn more. Make an educated decision about whether to be vaccinated.

I don’t want to die from this deadly virus; this vaccine will keep me alive. While I may still get this particular coronavirus, it’s highly unlikely I would even be hospitalized. Time will tell if this will be an annual vaccination, and whether those who are vaccinated can spread it to others. I’m willing to be part of this experiment. It’s certainly not as risky as participating in the trials.

As someone who is needle phobic and tends to faint whether it’s an injection or blood draw, I willingly sat in the chair waiting for the shot. It was more like a poke. I barely felt the jab as Victoria, a nursing student at Chico State University, administered my first dose of the Moderna vaccine. The entire process was organized, fast, efficient and uneventful. My second appointment is set for four weeks.

When Victoria found out I’m a fainter she offered a private area where I could go to be horizontal. I toughed it out and all went well. Everyone was told to sit for 15 minutes in the waiting area to make sure there were no adverse reactions. My mom drove me in case I passed out. My reward, just like when I was a kid, was French fries. Some traditions are worth keeping even without a fainting episode.

Before going to the post-shot resting area a worker goes over  details. (Image: Cleo Reed)

Lifting my arm a few hours later I noticed soreness. I was pain free on the computer. I know this will be one of the best decisions I made. I’m grateful my tax dollars are at work providing this vaccine for free to anyone who wants it.

I’m still wearing my mask and washing my hands. Clearly, masks work against the basic cold and flu as well. Who knows if I’ll ever want to shake someone’s hand again.

As of March 21:

  • 543,000 people in the United States have died from this coronavirus;
  • 81,415,769 (24.8 percent) of people in the United States have received on dose of the vaccine;
  • 44,141,228 (13.45 percent) of people in the United States are fully vaccinated

There will be consequences for those who are not vaccinated beyond the possibility of death. The European Union and China are planning to implement vaccine passports. In other words, only travelers who can prove they have been vaccinated will be allowed to enter. I’m hearing from people they will only want to gather with those who are vaccinated. I’m ready to be around people, to hug friends outside my bubble. One day I might even sit inside a restaurant.

Nothing like a little shot in the arm to also provide me with a dose of hope.

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