Don’t@Me: I got the COVID-19 vaccine and I didn’t die

Why I got vaccinated

Graphic by Gabriela Vasquez-Rondon

I got my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on May 19. The process was quite simple.

I walked into the gymnasium of my old CEGEP, flashed my medicare card, and waited in line for five minutes at most. The nurse asked me a few questions, such as if I was pregnant and I said, “I hope not, but with my luck we never know.” She laughed and we conversed while she stuck the needle into my arm. Afterwards, I waited the mandatory 15 minutes, and I didn’t die. 

After some of my friends got vaccinated, they experienced some pretty bad side effects, like widespread muscle pain and extreme fatigue. Half of my friends felt like absolute garbage, and the other half didn’t really have any issues. Luckily for me, my post-vaccination experience was the latter. My only side effects were going to bed at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m., and some slight soreness at the injection site. 

I’m not a scientist—I’m just a sociology student who’s weirdly fascinated by medical literature. However, I do know the COVID-19 virus would kill me a lot faster than the shot. 

Also, I’m pretty sure I let more questionable substances enter my body than the vaccine. McDonald’s chicken nuggets may or may not be on that list. 

Jokes aside, witnessing my friends’ experiences with the virus—whether it be the loss of their parents, or the cognitive issues they are still dealing with months after being infected—is enough encouragement for me to get the vaccine. 

Some of my friends asked me if I was scared of getting the vaccine. Quite frankly, I was relieved. 

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been glued to my laptop, obsessively monitoring vaccine developments. The universe blessed me with generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. This means not a day went by where I didn’t think I was going to die of COVID-19 and potentially kill my at-risk father and everyone else around me. One slight tickle in my throat would have me writing funeral arrangements and double-checking my will. 

Throughout the pandemic, due to my intense fear of catching the virus and transmitting it to others, I became a huge hermit. I wouldn’t even step into grocery stores because I was afraid of getting it that way, especially with all the nasty, space-invading, anti-maskers who clearly did not know what a six feet distance looked like.

When the vaccine came out, I was overwhelmed with joy. It felt like I would finally be able to breathe again.

When the vaccine came out, I was overwhelmed with joy. It felt like I would finally be able to breathe again.

I completely understand anyone who is distrusting of the government and scientific authority, given the harm they cause to many people, especially marginalized folks. 

Realistically speaking, pandemics are not beneficial for anyone, politicians included. Making people sicker with a vaccine is not a great economic or political strategy, in my humble opinion, so I’ll just stick to trusting scientists. I really don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to get the world sick again, in case this global “panorama,” as my friend would call it, hasn’t proven that enough. 

Although the results are not yet conclusive, it seems as though vaccines are greatly reducing transmission as well.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there are people who cannot get the vaccine due to allergies or other conditions, and getting vaccinated is a good way to keep them safe. 

However, given all the anti-lockdown and anti-mask protests that occurred in the city, the ableism and individualism in our society has become much more apparent to me. Because of this, I don't really trust that people have much empathy. For those who actually do care, the vaccine’s a great solution.

On a more selfish note, getting the vaccine means I’ll legally be able to hug my besties and throw dinner parties somewhat soon. It’ll be nice to have more physical contact than the accidental awkward grazing of the mailman’s hand as he’s handing me a parcel. 

The moral of the story is: I’m still alive for now, and hopefully getting vaccinated means I’m also contributing to keeping others alive too.