Healthy You - Every Day

From Vaccine Hesitant to Vaccinated and Hopeful

How a daughter's love and trust convinced Rosmira Monsalve to finally get a COVID-19 vaccine.


Possible side effects and safety concerns are among the top reasons people are turning down the COVID-19 vaccine. Initially, that’s how Easton resident Rosmira Monsalve responded. Those were the exact hesitations that led her to cancel her vaccine appointment back in February.

That appointment was scheduled by her daughter, Claudia Santiago, administrator of Department of Medicine, Lehigh Valley Health Network. As soon as vaccines were made available to those 75 and over, Santiago scheduled it for her mom.

“I’ve always worried about my mom’s health, and although she is relatively healthy, her age, 78, puts her at risk for getting COVID-19,” Santiago says.

Concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine

Monsalve’s feelings of concern deepened as the date grew closer for her to receive her first dose. With a snowstorm on the way, she received an offer for an earlier appointment but declined it. She was uncomfortable given the stories she had heard and believed that “it just wasn’t the right time.”

“We’re a very tight-knit family, but we’re also spiritual and religious. We knew that some of these things being said about the vaccine caused them to not have the best reputation because of different misconceptions with culture and religion,” Santiago says.

“It was super important for me to do whatever it took to make sure she got the vaccine, because I didn’t want to lose someone else in our family,” Santiago says.

A daughter’s love

From the beginning, Santiago reassured her mom of the safety of the vaccine and how it would protect her. So, when she found out about her mom’s appointment cancellation, she was caught off guard. “I told [my mom] that the people I trust the most are those that I work with – they are supportive of this vaccine,” Santiago says.

After already having lost a loved one to COVID-19 earlier this year, she was very worried about her mom’s health and safety. “It was super important for me to do whatever it took to make sure she got the vaccine, because I didn’t want to lose someone else in our family,” Santiago says. She knew the COVID-19 vaccine would decrease her mom’s risk for hospitalization and death if she were to get the virus. But she also realized her mom had her own perspective and truly was unwilling to get vaccinated.

“My daughter would say to me, please get vaccinated because there are a lot of people your age who are dying across the country. I would always tell her that we’re all going to die from something, so if my destiny is to die from COVID-19, then that’s what my destiny will be, ” Monsalve says.

Her daughter did not give up hope though. “It was important that my mom had accurate information about the vaccine, the support she needed, but ultimately also knew that I as a daughter, was there to support her every step of the way,” Santiago says. She provided her mom with the latest information from LVHN about the vaccine and gave her the space needed to decide. She also continued to pray that her mom would eventually be ready to get vaccinated.

Inspiration from an older sister

That prayer was answered in a special way. Monsalve heard that her older sister had received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She remembers seeing how happy and relieved her sister was knowing she was three weeks away from being fully vaccinated. “I thought if my sister who’s 92 years old is giving me that beautiful example, then why shouldn’t I do it?” Monsalve says.

“I got my shot!”

Her daughter’s encouragement and her role-model sister ultimately led to Monsalve changing her mind about receiving the vaccine. “I realized my daughter was taking care of me by advising me to get the vaccine. At the end of the day, I just looked at it like it was just a normal vaccine like any other vaccine that I would have received,” Monsalve says.

The best part? Not only is she fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but she also experienced no symptoms after receiving her vaccine.

“We have to normalize getting the COVID-19 vaccine. My mom is proof that she’s fine, and it’s the best way to protect yourself and the people around you,” Santiago says.

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