By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Before I go any further with my thoughts on whether or not to get the Covid-19 vaccine, let me just say, I get it. Collectively, the last year has been a shock to the system. We’ve lived through a year of unknowns and tragedy, and each step along the way has raised questions.
When it was first announced that there were vaccines to prevent Covid infections, did I have some concerns? Sure I did. So I thought I’d share my thought process on how I reached my decision on whether to get the vaccine or not.
Let’s start off with some of my reservations. The vaccines available today didn’t even exist a few months ago. They are brand new. Even after looking up terms like “MRNA,” I still don’t understand exactly how these vaccines are supposed to work.
I don’t really know what’s in them. How can I put something in my body that I don’t even understand? Well, I’ve eaten countless hot dogs before and I can make the same statement—I don’t really know what’s in them. I seem to be A-OK with that.
Another concern—what about blood clots? After all, it was plastered all over the news in recent weeks about some of the side effects related to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Random blood clots sound like a serious problem.
And while I hope no one ever has to experience a blood clot of any kind, the probability of having a blood clot after taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one in over a million. As a reference point, I looked up on the National Weather Service on the probability of being struck by lightning in someone’s lifetime and the chances are 1 in 15,300. That means you are about 70 times more likely to be struck by lightning than have a blood clot from that vaccine.
Based on those numbers, it would be a better investment for me to remove every piece of metal in my house and wrap all the doors and windows with duct tape, instead of worrying about the side effects from taking the shot.
But what about the unknown? What other side effects could I suffer if I get the vaccine?
By now, if you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that I didn’t really struggle to decide whether to get the shot. The alternative—getting covid—was all the info I needed to make up my mind.
Still, I meant it when I said that I could relate to the fear of the unknown. For the first few hours after getting my first shot, I started waiting for something to happen. Whatever it was, I would be ready for it.
Would I get a rash? Would my hair fall out? Would appendages just start falling off my body? Would my voice change and give me an irresistible urge to belt out show tunes in the produce aisle of my local market? The unknown can be scary.
The experience was pretty anti-climatic. The only symptom I felt was a sore arm and one night of restlessness. No lost appendages. No show tunes.
Get the shot, folks. The benefits are obvious. And if you do feel a need to belt out some show tunes, just stick to Rodgers and Hammerstein and we’re all good.
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.