"My Why" By Jennifer Baker Respiratory Therapist

Why did you decide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? Being a healthcare worker since the pandemic, I have witnessed many individuals become sick and some of them have passed away. Most recently, my dad had open heart surgery and knowing how vulnerable he was, I felt like it was my duty to protect him and my family. I also saw hospital leadership step up and take the vaccine. That gave me a lot of comfort and helped me make my decision.

What would you say to those who are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Talk to your health care provider and pharmacist so that you can make an informed decision.

What would you say to those who are worried about possible vaccine side effects? I would again encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. My personal experience is I had pain in the site area after the first vaccine. After my second vaccine, I had a couple more side effects, fever, chills, and a headache. Those lasted about 24 hours. At the end of the day, the side effects were far less serious than the potential outcome of getting COVID-19.

What would you say to those who think it may not matter if they don’t get the vaccine? I would hope after receiving the vaccine, we could get back to normal, our lives could look more normal again. We could get back to day-to-day activities, like getting back with our families, attending church services, or losing the masks. Maybe social distancing will go away in the near future if we get the vaccine.

What made you feel safe to get the vaccine? As a healthcare provider I rely on science daily. And I just feel like I trusted the science. I asked questions to physicians and to pharmacists. I educated myself and made my decisions.

What were some of your worries about the vaccine and how did you work through them? I think the fear of the unknown was one of my biggest worries. Anything is scary when it’s new. When I educated myself and researched the vaccine, I felt better. I was ready to get the vaccine when it rolled out. I also helped educate my kids and my husband. We are all now vaccinated as a family. We are vaccinated and ready to get back to normal.

What is the significance of the COVID-19 vaccine to you? At the end of the day, this pandemic has been hard mentally and physically on me and so many others. I feel the vaccine has provided a sense of hope. But we all have to do our part. We need to get the vaccine to get through the rest of this pandemic.  

This interview was conducted in the summer of 2021, prior to organizational decisions regarding employee vaccination status and booster recommendations.