Why I Have Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines

Why I Have Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines

February 8, 2021 • BySarah Juarez, MPH RN

My name is Sarah Juarez—agency nurse at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. I was introduced to Mercy Home through a community partnership with Rush University Medical Center, where I work as a Community Health Nurse. As a registered nurse, I have a master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on program planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

Over the last year, my role—and the role of my colleagues at Mercy Home—shifted dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. While dealing with this public health crisis head on, I am proud of the way that Mercy Home adapted, adjusted, and overcame every barrier during this pandemic. In retrospect, this really brought us closer together as a community. 

As rollout of the vaccine begins, there is hope on the horizon. Regardless, there are several collective measures we must still do to quell the virus. As we know very well, universal masking (with a multi-layer, high-quality face covering), frequent hand hygiene, social distancing of at least six feet as much as possible, and disinfection of high-touch areas must remain part of our everyday routine.

As the City of Chicago and the Mercy Home community prepare to get vaccinated, it is critical to understand why this vaccine is so important. 

In my professional opinion, the vaccine is the essential variable in bringing an end to the pandemic.

– Sarah Juarez, RN

It was only recently that we acquired access to the vaccine though Pfizer and Moderna. With an effective and safe vaccine available, we can start to see the little light at the end of the tunnel. In my professional opinion, the vaccine is the essential variable in bringing an end to the pandemic.  

With there being so much information out there, I know it may be hard at times to disseminate between factual and inaccurate rhetoric. While producing a vaccine in under a year may seem ‘too fast’ or rushed to some people, in my opinion, this time frame is not out of the ordinary. I believe it is safe, given the current state of the pandemic. 

I wholeheartedly acknowledge the hesitancy within certain communities, specifically in Black and LatinX communities. But I assure you—this is not the time for hesitancy, but a time to gather and use our resources to help put an end to the pandemic. This is a time to trust those in healthcare who have been fighting so hard at the front lines, caring for those affected by COVID-19. 

When Rush offered the opportunity to healthcare clinicians to get the Pfizer vaccine, I jumped at the chance and scheduled my first vaccination on December 18th and then received the second dose on January 8th.  

Along with the majority of those vaccinated, I recovered from mild side effects—a sore arm at the injection site and mild fatigue lasting about 24 hours after the second dose. The side effects were to be expected and were proof that my immune system was at work making antibodies against COVID-19. I was surprised at how short lived the side effects were and it was a nice excuse to take it easy for the weekend. 

I am confident in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

– Sarah Juarez, RN

I am confident in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. I researched the vaccine and the trials for Pfizer for many months and trust the scientific community developing this vaccine. My husband even participated in the phase 3 Moderna trials last fall. And just last week we learned that, instead of the placebo, he actually received the vaccine back in September. 

We both chose to vaccinate because we want to protect our family and our community. I want to be an advocate for science and health prevention because I have worked most of my adult life studying public health and nursing. This is the time to really be a part of the solution, not only for my own health, but also for the health of everyone. 

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