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Why did I choose to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Ok so... Initially, I didn't want to discuss COVID on this blog. I mean, it's already in the news, social media, WhatsApp group chats, etc. Everyday, we are bombarded by news of the virus, the overall pandemic and all its variants and I wanted this blog to be a getaway from the negativity... but I was asked this question so often that I decided to write about it.

Let me make my disclaimer one time.

The views, opinions, etc. expressed within this post, are those of Brinnelle Kelly-Simmons. If you do not agree with the statements made in this blog post, that is solely your prerogative and I kindly ask that you respect mine.

If you're following me on social media, primarily Instagram, you would've seen my posts on my experience with receiving both doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. As a first time mom, I wanted to make the best decision for my family, which for me, meant taking the vaccine. So, as with everything else I've done in my life, I did my research. I spent hours researching the Coronavirus, the associated vaccines and their various types, the side effects, etc. I discussed it with my husband and even with some family members, friends and colleagues; some of whom actually became heated (meh). However, at the end of the day, the conclusion was made that receiving the vaccine was the best thing to do, not only for myself and my family, but for the world in general.

Here are my 5 reasons for taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

1. Protection from COVID-19 and hospitalization or death if I happen to contract the virus. This was a biggie for me, especially since I have a little one. I want to have the chance to see her grow into the woman I know she is destined to be and I won't be able to do that if I am constantly putting both myself and her at risk of contracting the fatal virus. According to the World Health Organization (2021), the vaccine provides protection from COVID because it assists the body in building up an immune response to the virus. If you do get exposed to the virus, there is a reduced risk of you needing to be hospitalized or dying as well as exposing/infecting your family members to the virus. The CDC actually reported that fully vaccinated persons are 94% less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated persons if they are exposed to the virus. Additionally, the vaccine can help reduce long-term symptoms if you have already had COVID-19.

2. The vaccine is available.

There are so many vaccine options available, especially in Trinidad and Tobago (for which I am extremely grateful). However, there weren’t any options available for breastfeeding mothers so for a while, your girl was the only unvaccinated person in her household - a couple of months actually. When approval was given for breastfeeding mothers to take the Sinopharm vaccine, I was excited - finally I can begin the process of protecting myself from this deadly virus.

3. Protection for my baby.

It's no secret as to the wonders of breastmilk. Breastfeeding your child can reduce your baby's risk of many diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes (type 2) and even respiratory diseases such as asthma. So it was not surprising (at least to me) that a few studies concluded that the breastmilk of vaccinated lactating mothers contained antibodies, which can help protect their babies from the virus. Although data is limited on how exactly these antibodies can protect the babies from the virus, researchers noted that there was a noticeable change/increase in antibodies in the breastmilk of those women who were fully vaccinated. This suggests that babies can receive some sort of immunity from their mother which is great since they can't have the COVID vaccine.

4. Protection for my family.

By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you lessen the chance of spreading the virus to family members, friends, or other people with whom you have contact. Even if you are fit and healthy, there is still the risk that you can transmit the virus to vulnerable persons (the elderly and those with comorbidities). Considering that I live in the same household as my parents, I wanted to ensure that I don't put them at risk (even though they received their vaccines before me).

5. Do my part in fighting the pandemic and returning to doing things that I love.

This goes without saying. Honestly, it hurts me that my daughter is almost one year old and has never gotten the opportunity to go to the beach yet. Luckily, she has experienced a pool but I think we all know it's not the same! On top of all that, I know my fellow Trinis miss having Carnival! I know I do! I thank God that I got to play mas in 2020 before COVID became a dire issue. I also miss seeing my friends regularly, the after work pumps and girls' nights.

I know that getting vaccinated is only one small step in combatting this pandemic but I'm honestly proud to know that I am one of the many persons worldwide who has made the decision to get vaccinated... especially since as more people get vaccinated, everyone will be better protected against future outbreaks. Trust me, I understand the concerns of persons regarding the vaccines (after all my own grandfather was initially opposed to getting vaccinated) but there's so much information out there that is easily accessible, so ensure your decision to not get vaccinated is indeed an informed one. Either way, the choice is yours but know this, your decision to get vaccinated does matter in the long run.

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