Healthy You - Every Day

I Went from Vaccine-Wary to Living Vaccinated

Earleen Smith shares what changed her mind

earleen smith

In March 2020, I took a quick trip out of state to attend a special ceremony. The next day I returned home and heard of the first recognized case of the COVID-19 virus with a gentleman who lived in Tobyhanna, Pa., which is about a 40-minute drive from my house. By the time my other family members returned to their homes, cases started to rise ferociously. I realized that the pandemic was real and spreading my way.

As I stayed glued watching the news, I began to realize the seriousness of the ever-growing pandemic. I decided it would be best for me to not return to work as a substitute teacher because I did not feel safe to go into a crowded environment. During my stay at home, I decided to learn as much as I could regarding the pandemic. I took courses through Johns Hopkins University on contact tracing and other related courses, and instituted a strict stay-at-home policy: no visitors, no outdoor extracurricular activities, etc. What was most distressing was not being able to be with my grandchildren, distant relatives and friends.

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I followed all the suggestions regarding COVID-19 safety. I purchased gloves, masks, sanitizer, face shields, wipes and disinfectant sprays. I had these items set up in my breezeway and in both of my vehicles. I also purchased items for family members and neighbors. While the vaccines were being developed, I prayed and prayed that a breakthrough would happen. But then, I became one of those naysayers who was skeptical about getting vaccinated.

Like so many other people throughout the world, the seriousness of the pandemic hit home when several of my family members became infected. I was devastated. I am grateful that they survived but am tormented about the many who did not, and now I have a new outlook about getting vaccinated. After getting clearance from my doctor, I scheduled my vaccination and was able to convince other people to get it also.

Today, I am proud to say that I and other family members received our vaccines at the very well-organized Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Drive-through Vaccine Clinic at Pocono Raceway. The entire process from scheduling to receiving the vaccine was professionally coordinated and conducted in a timely manner. Getting vaccinated allowed me to become part of the solution to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I am beginning to regain some type of normalcy in my life. It feels great to be around my loved ones and friends who have all been vaccinated. Together, we stop the spread!

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