Vaccination: A Personal Journey

African American man wearing glasses, a blue button-down shirt and gray sports jacket is smiling at the camera.
By Charles W. Redd, MS, RN

As we continue to move towards normalcy since the pandemic, which began in the United States in March 2020, I am often asked by people about whether I received the COVID vaccine, and whether I got the booster. That is usually followed by the question of whether they should get the vaccine and boosters as well. I have been a nurse for 28 years, which is why I am asked these questions. I answer these questions by sharing my personal journey and by encouraging others to speak with their physicians to find out what would be the best option for them.

Before the vaccine became mandatory for healthcare workers, I had to decide back in December 2020 what would be best for me. This is the conversation I had with my primary care physician.

  1. I am over 50 years old with a diagnosis of hypertension and diabetes which made me high risk for a severe response to COVID 19.
  2. I work in healthcare which raises my risk of exposure.
  3. The benefits outweighed the risks of side effects from vaccine.

I felt it would be in my best interest to be vaccinated and I went through the same process for the boosters. As we begin to learn more about the vaccines and their effectiveness in preventing serious illness, I believe we need to evaluate what will be best for us as individuals as well as what will be best for our families. It will be important to sit down with you physician or whomever you trust as your primary care provider to decide if the COVID-19 vaccine is the right decision for you. This is my advice to all who approach me when they are trying to make this important decision.