It was late July. I saw on the news that several drug companies were seeking volunteers for their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. A website was given for volunteers to sign up. While a strong believer in diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, I do believe that vaccines offer protection against diseases that can cause great bodily harm — and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly has been causing much harm.
So, I signed up for Pfizer’s clinical trial and had my two injections in September at the Diablo Clinic in Walnut Creek. With my first injection I had no reaction, but with my second injection, three weeks later, I had a mild headache and a low-grade fever. Both lasted less than a day and required no medication. The side effects were much less severe than with my shingles vaccine earlier in the year.
These clinical trials are “double-blinded,” meaning neither the doctors nor the study subjects know if they are getting the vaccine or the placebo. Pfizer cannot tell me until March 6 (six months into the clinical
trial) if I am eligible to receive the vaccine. Meanwhile, my son and other health professionals are receiving this vaccine this past week, and we finally have a means to curb this pandemic.
This vaccine came out at “warp speed,” so it is understandable to be skeptical, but I also came from a generation that put a man on the moon. I do think the scientific community has risen to the occasion. It is also understandable that people whose communities were discriminated against, experimented on or otherwise let down by the medical community would be skeptical. But we are all in this pandemic together. I am reassured to see prominent members of government and other leadership hurrying to get vaccinated. We can all get what they are getting. One for all, and all for one!
I would like to encourage everyone to take this vaccine when available unless advised otherwise by your doctor. It is 95 percent effective and safe, according to medical experts. It is much riskier not taking it and being infected by this terrible virus. I’ve had relatives hospitalized, and many of you probably have too. To stop this pandemic, we need about 75 percent of all people vaccinated to develop herd immunity. So, come join my herd!
I went on Nextdoor with this message and encountered a skeptic who wondered who was paying me for my post. No one. Pfizer is not paying me to write this article or post on social media. But, I do have my personal motives: To meet a friend for lunch, to carpool, to give hugs. Let’s get our lives back.
Joy Hitzeman is a 40-year resident of Pacifica, retired Realtor, volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and is active in the Pacifica Tennis Club.