I’m not the type of person who likes to be vocal about controversial or political beliefs. As someone with immense social anxiety and general fear of people, I would rather silently observe what other people debate on social media instead of putting my voice into the conversation. If a stranger looked at my social profiles, they’d see me as Switzerland with no strong beliefs in any particular direction. But when it comes to COVID-19 booster shots, I can’t stay silent anymore.
The other day, I read a maddening post on Facebook from one of my friends. She wrote that the booster shot didn’t work because she still became sick with the highly contagious omicron variant. She ranted about how the booster shot made her sick for two days, only for her to become infected with COVID-19 about a month later. ... had thousands of likes. I felt sick to my stomach as I read comments from people thanking this girl for “saving them” before they got their booster. It’s not the first time I’ve seen misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, but something in me snapped this time. So, now I’m finally speaking up.
For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE get your COVID-19 booster shot as soon as you possibly can.
Contrary to what this “friend” of mine believes, the COVID-19 vaccines were never meant to eliminate the risk of becoming infected. But the vaccines are still saving lives by lowering your risk of becoming sick if you are exposed to the coronavirus and mitigating your symptoms if you do fall ill. They also lower your risk of requiring hospitalization if infected, which is important because the healthcare system is overwhelmed. Like me, the scientific and medical communities believe that vaccinations and booster shots will be key to ending the pandemic. But only if everyone participates.
At this point, I’ve lost track of how many articles I’ve read about exhausted healthcare workers discussing time and time again how every patient in their ICU and the people who are dying are unvaccinated. And even as new variants emerge, science shows that fully vaccinated and boosted people are still relatively well protected from a severe case of COVID-19. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather deal with milder cold- or flu-like symptoms. I could ride them out at home instead of being faced with death in the ICU. The same argument applies to the side effects of the COVID-19 booster shot itself. I’ll gladly feel crappy for a day or two if it means my life isn’t at risk.
I hate to break it to you: Being young does not mean you are invincible. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, and death doesn’t discriminate based on age.
Ever since the omicron variant became the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, a record number of children and young people have been admitted to hospitals. So don’t let yourself become a number in those statistics.
As we learn more about COVID-19 and new mutations appear, what it means to be fully vaccinated is changing. I believe that soon, you will need to have your booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. In fact, it’s already a requirement to have your booster shot before you’re allowed to come into the office at my workplace. This is because fully vaccinated people are less likely to spread COVID-19 to others.
If you aren’t willing to get fully vaccinated for yourself, then I beg you to take the shot for others. You may be okay if you become infected. You might even be asymptomatic and have no idea that you’re COVID-19-positive in the first place. But at the time of writing this, more than 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. So clearly, not everyone who gets COVID-19 makes it. In fact, many people’s grandparents are on a ventilator. And some parents orphaned their children because they were exposed to COVID-19 by someone who wasn’t fully vaccinated or boosted.
The way I see it, getting your booster shot doesn’t benefit just you. It’s your duty as a member of society and a common courtesy for everyone around you.
Featured image via Steven Cornfield on Unsplash