Thompson’s Take (Opinion): Vaccination, feeling safe at Grace while helping the community

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Editor’s Note: This column is about Observer Founder Daniel Thompson’s subjective experiences getting a COVID-19 single-dose vaccination. Therefore, this piece is his opinion. This is not a news article. That does not mean that it does not contain facts; however, the main focus is to relay experience. 

Hello everyone.

I’m writing this because I think it’s important to be vocal about post-vaccine experiences.

I got the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose COVID-19 vaccine yesterday during a mobile vaccination event at Grace Lutheran Church, 2006 60th St. I was volunteering with the effort at the time. 

In fact, if you saw a man holding a sign that read “Free COVID-19 vaccine” along the side of 60th Street yesterday, you saw me.

Since vaccination, I haven’t experienced any adverse effects. I don’t feel weak or sick at all. In fact, I don’t feel anything out of the ordinary at this point.

I actually feel pretty good.

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The procedure

At the time that the Kenosha County Health Department was inside Grace Lutheran Church administering vaccines Tuesday, I was outside volunteering. 

In a break in the stream of cars coming in for either the church’s food pantry, the vaccine or both, Grace Pastor Jonathan Barker asked me a question: Do you want to get vaccinated?

Now, I had watched people going in and out for about an hour at that point. I knew the procedure at Grace was efficient, simple and very well planned out ⸺ with every precaution one could think of taken.

However, even knowing that, it wasn’t an immediate “yes”.

The choice

I’ve thought about whether or not I’d get the vaccine for a long time now, even before one existed really.

To be truly honest, I hadn’t decided whether or not I would get it before yesterday. In fact, I was leaning more towards not getting the vaccine.

But then came that question: Do you want to get vaccinated?

I’ve gone unscathed this entire time, and I don’t really like getting shots and stuff injected into my body. Needles have just never been my thing. 

So I stood there for a few seconds, not answering. 

I thought about how I don’t know the long-term effects of the virus or the vaccine. I thought about how, while I may leap, I always try to weigh the unintended and eventual consequences.

In this situation, none of the data is available to see those clearly. 

However, I said yes and took it because of a simple thought: I am around too many people through my work not to get vaccinated.

Post-shot thoughts

Yes, I was nervous about it. No, I don’t really believe at this point I would have gotten the virus and passed it on.

However, there was still a chance.

And when dealing with so many people in my job, it really couldn’t be about me and my fears when making my choice. 

I had to go with what, in my mind, was the safest and best decision for the community.

With that in mind, I chose vaccination.

Because I don’t really care what happens to my one life stacked against however many others, against those of my neighbors. 

If you, too, would like to get vaccinated, more opportunities like the one at Grace will be coming. 

I encourage you to seize those opportunities when you can, when your segment can.

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I understand the difficulty 

If you are uncomfortable getting the vaccine and choose not to, that is your choice to make.

However, if you are only holding off out of concerns of safety, I assure you that today, after getting the vaccine yesterday, I feel completely fine. 

On the other hand, one friend of mine experienced some flu-like symptoms since their vaccination yesterday. However, that friend’s symptoms had subsided by the end of Wednesday morning.

And I know that my experience is subjective.

I am one of many the nation has vaccinated since vaccinations began in the U.S., and not every experience has been as smooth. I understand that.

I simply had this experience myself, a very good one.

I won’t pressure anyone which way to go. 

I felt safe, taken care of 

But if you go the way that I went, I want you to know one thing: You will feel safe.

Kenosha County Health Department officials are on hand. Medical staff is on hand to act with equipment in the case of a serious reaction. Grace volunteers were on hand to help people Tuesday.

Staff also keep everyone vaccinated for 15 minutes afterward to make sure they are okay. 

And even though I was facing a situation that I still do not know the impact it will have on my future over time, those volunteers and health department staff made me feel comfortable, safe and looked after in that moment.

I thank them for that.

For more information on Kenosha County’s COVID-19 response, visit the county’s data hub at https://kenosha-county-covid-19-response-kenoshacounty.hub.arcgis.com/.


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