"My Why" By Jennifer Hawthorne Rn Emergency Department

Why did you decide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? I got the vaccine mainly out of a sense of  responsibility. I felt I was obligated to get the vaccine that was being made available as a front-liner. I see patients when they first come in and are most sick. I felt it was my responsibility to get it. I would feel terrible if someone got sick and I was able to have prevented it.

What would you like to say to those are who hesitant to receive the vaccine? I completely understand. I was that person who was hesitant at the beginning. I did some research and read up on a lot of articles and made an educated decision at the end of the day. There was a lot of research that went into this vaccine, and a lot of smart, educated people came together to come up with a vaccine.

What would you say to those who are worried about possible vaccine side effects? Just like with any other vaccine, like the flu vaccine or shingles shot, your body reacts and that’s how you build immunity to it. You might feel bad for 24-36 hours at times, sometimes you have fevers or aches and chills. But you can symptom manage that and then you are protected.

I think it make a huge difference that everyone does their part. They might think that one person doesn’t make a difference, but one person can be a carrier and end up getting someone sick, and that can get a lot of people after that sick.

What made you feel safe to get the vaccine? I felt very safe after all of the research I did and after speaking to some of the physicians I work with and getting their opinion. I know a lot of research went into the vaccine before it was released. It came out faster because it was a pandemic we were going through, so they put all of their resources into this in order to get a vaccine out there.

How did you work through your worries? I absolutely did have worries. I was scared it was too fast. I was hesitant, but then I did my research and educated myself on it, and I felt very comfortable getting the vaccine.

What’s the significance of this vaccine to you? At the end of the day, getting the vaccine is getting us one step closer to normalcy. I think even after this pandemic, things won’t return 100% to normal, but that getting the vaccine is one step closer to doing that.

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