#MyWhy: Dr. Sari Shares Her COVID-19 Vaccine Experience
We’re so thankful that our providers and staff are among the first Oregonians to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and so are they! As our team joins the #ThisIsOurShot movement, we’ll share their vaccine selfies and stories, so we can celebrate each win together.
In Dr. Sari’s Words…
I want to be very honest. The day I got the text that I had been prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, I did not react the way I thought I would. I paced around the office, breathing hard (in a mask of course), with shaking hands and sweating through my usual 18 layers of clothes. I wasn’t excited. I was terrified and shocked to be feeling that way. What if, what if, what if… all the unknowns about this vaccine began to pop out and scare me like individual jack-in-the-boxes. MY LID WAS FLIPPED.
“Okay, I’m okay,” I told myself. As the adrenaline started to fade away, I came back to lots of the conversations I had had around the office in years past. The ones about how we can’t think rationally when our lids are flipped and those I have had with families that were feeling really anxious or uncertain stuck out the most. I could, for a few minutes, understand how easy it is to let our emotional response (or flipped lid) get in the way of making a healthy, safe, evidence-based decision.
That’s why I’m writing to you today if you are feeling hesitant about this vaccine. I am encouraging you to get that lid put back down, so you can think with your rational, awesome brain. We know that certain situations make us react (not think) with the emotional, fight-or-flight part of our brain, and we must be careful not to let those big feelings take over and control what we do.
Thinking with our lids flipped leads to decisions made on emotions alone, which usually don’t serve us very well. Thinking with the rational part of our brain helps us use data, evidence, and logic to make a decision that is the best one. It helps us listen to people who know a lot more about certain things than we do (Dr. Fauci and Dr. Offit if you need a few examples) for guidance. It helps us remember that social media, Google, and our sister’s mother-in-law’s great uncle maybe aren’t the best places to get information.
I love a quote from the Vaccine Education Center from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It is about separating the definition of the word “safe” from the word “harmless” and it helped me make my decision about getting this vaccine:
The second definition of the word safe is “having been preserved from a real danger.” Using this definition, the danger (the disease) must be significantly greater than the means of protecting against the danger (the vaccine). Or, said another way, a vaccine’s benefits must clearly and definitively outweigh its risks. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2014)
Last week, I made the best decision I could for myself, my family, my coworkers, and my patients. I couldn’t have been happier to walk in and roll up my sleeve that day. I felt great the next day and haven’t looked back. I am looking forward to the day when we are all vaccinated and life can look a little more like 2019 than 2020!”
“Are Vaccines Safe?” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. November 4, 2014. https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-safety/are-vaccines-safe.