“The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks of becoming infected”
Last month, thanks to a partnership with Rush University Medical Center and early access through the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Mercy Home coworkers in direct care positions began to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Prior to that inspiring development, Mercy Home’s in-house nurse, Sarah Juarez, MPH, RN was able to receive the vaccine at Rush as a frontline medical professional. She shared her experience in hopes assuaging apprehensions others may have and encouraging our coworkers to get vaccinated. This has become particularly urgent recently after learning that the CDPH has expanded eligibility to all Mercy Home coworkers. Vaccinating as many of our coworkers and youth as possible will be critical in keeping our entire community safe.
Juarez received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on December 18. “I was just tired,” she remembered of her experience. “There was a little bit of pain in my arm where I got the injection. I woke up the next day and I was completely fine.”
When she received the second dose 21 days later, Juarez again experienced arm soreness at the injection site and fatigue lasting through Friday evening and Saturday. But she said she felt completely fine by Sunday.
Juarez noted that the majority of people have minimal side effects, such as soreness at the injection site, muscle aches or fatigue, and that the risk of any adverse affects, (such as anaphylaxis, for example) is extremely rare. If someone has had an adverse reaction to any vaccine in the past, they should talk with their healthcare provider about next steps.
“The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks of becoming infected,” she said.
The same is true of our youth as it is of our coworkers. Since the risk of developing a mild, or asymptomatic case of COVID-19 is more likely with Mercy Home’s predominantly healthy youth community, they’re more at risk of spreading the virus. This, Juarez said is why it remains critical that everyone in our Mercy Home community consider vaccination and adhere to the strict mitigation strategies that have been in place since the early days of the pandemic nearly a year ago.
When deciding whether to receive the vaccine, Juarez urges people to do their research and to be discerning.
“It’s very important to be well-informed and use reputable websites when researching Covid-19 and the Covid vaccine,” Juarez said. “I strongly encourage everyone to read evidence-based research when making the decision to vaccinate.”
Juarez also wanted to add that the COVID-19 vaccine is no riskier than any other vaccine an individual may receive. “While no vaccine or treatment comes without risk, it’s important to remember that the Covid-19 vaccine is no riskier than any other vaccine.”
Juarez wants to help dispel any misapprehensions that might discourage use of our best weapon against the pandemic. “People are not getting COVID from the vaccine,” she said. “The Pfizer or Moderna trials were never halted due to serious adverse effects.”
Please continue to social distance, continue washing your hands, and practicing the “Four W’s” at Mercy Home [Wash Your Hands, Wear a Mask, Wellness Screening, and Watch Your Distance]. That’s still really important, even if you have been vaccinated.
She also wants people to understand the difference between adverse effects and side effects when learning about the vaccine or hearing it discussed in the news.
“Adverse effects are something that are usually a little bit more severe, and they’re effects that were not anticipated [or] expected to happen. And usually they’re very rare and due to an underlying condition specific to that person.” Side effects, on the other hand tend to be routine, mild, and similar to those of other vaccines.
Juarez shared the links below with more information about the vaccine. She added that, no matter what you decide to do, it is still important to not become complacent in combating COVID.
“Please continue to wear your mask,” she said. “Please continue to social distance, continue washing your hands, and practicing the “Four W’s” at Mercy Home [Wash Your Hands, Wear a Mask, Wellness Screening, and Watch Your Distance]. That’s still really important, even if you have been vaccinated.”
The response by Mercy Home coworkers has been positive since the vaccines were offered, with dozens having already received their first doses and more seeking appointments.
More information about the vaccine: