By: Michelle Ramirez Armendariz, Children’s Minnesota Marketing and Communications intern and high school junior.
Since the start of the pandemic, life has been very different. I remember the jokes people made about COVID-19, but that was until it reached the United States. Loved ones passed away, others were able to push through and everyone had to get used to a new life. When the vaccine for COVID-19 was announced, so many people finally felt hope for the future. When it was finally available to me, I got right in line.
Why I wanted to get vaccinated
I can admit I was a bit nervous to get my COVID-19 vaccine, but only because needles aren’t my best friend. A bigger part of me was excited to finally get it. I felt like I was making a difference in ending the pandemic and returning to a life without masks. There was no doubt in my mind about the importance of this vaccine.
To me, getting this vaccine is very important. In general, all vaccines are important to me. They help defend your body and protect you from illnesses that used to be deadly like polio, tetanus and the flu.
I chose to get vaccinated because I understand the importance of it. I don’t want to increase the probability of spreading COVID-19 to those around me. I don’t want the pandemic to stick around more than it has.
What family and friends think about the vaccine
Currently, my family isn’t fully vaccinated. My dad decided to get vaccinated the same day I did but at first, he was a bit hesitant. My sister is too young for the vaccine as of now and my mom just got her first dose of the vaccine and she was also a bit hesitant. When I told them I was getting vaccinated, at first, they were upset I made my appointment without asking but they understood how important it was to me and they ended up supporting me.
When my parents were hesitant about getting their shots, I tried to explain how COVID-19 can become like the flu. It can become a thing of the past and become a regular shot like the flu vaccine. When hopefully everyone is vaccinated, we won’t need to wear masks and overflow our hands with hand sanitizer. They might not have to worry about precautions when they come to see me graduate from high school and send me off to college. That convinced them.
Some of my friends have been vaccinated, but most are still looking to find appointments. Most of us are excited to get the vaccine and hopefully get back to what used to be our normal lives. We want to have a prom and graduation.
My experience getting vaccinated at Children’s Minnesota
I went to Children’s Minnesota to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I chose Children’s Minnesota because, not only am I currently interning here, but I have also always gone for urgent care and checkups since I was 6 years old. Children’s Minnesota staff have always been wonderful and understanding, especially when you have a parent that doesn’t fully speak English.
When I got my vaccine, the process didn’t take that long. I checked in then sat down with the nurse and my dad. She asked me some questions about my health history and then it was time for my shot. I rolled up my sleeve and waited for the shot. A few seconds later, I didn’t even feel the needle! Once I got done, my dad got his and we were escorted to another room to wait for 15 minutes to make sure we were feeling OK, then we left. All of that probably took around 20 minutes but it felt like even less! The second dose also went quickly like the first one and it felt like a little pinch.
After the first and second dose
I felt a few side effects from both doses of the vaccine, but I know that that is perfectly normal. It just means that the vaccine is working!
After the first dose, I had a headache, was a bit sore, and felt lightheaded. I just took a nap and Tylenol, then felt better. For me, the side effects only lasted for about two days.
After the second dose, my arm was bit sore and the next day I woke up with chills and felt tired. But these symptoms only lasted for a day and I was able to get back to my schedule right away!
The importance of vaccines
When I got my shot, I felt a deep appreciation for the nurses that got us vaccinated. I also felt like I was contributing to protecting not only myself, my family and friends, but also my community.
Vaccines are very important because they build immunity to something that could possibly be deadly. Especially this vaccine, which will help everyone get back to what used to be normal. The year I spent at home made me realize what was important and helped me grow into the new me. Now, I’m ready to get back to high school for my senior year and apply to colleges. I hope I can do that without worrying about COVID-19 and staying six feet apart from my wonderful friends at school.
I also believe that others should get vaccinated. If everyone gets vaccinated, it’s a step closer to returning to a life with no masks and we don’t risk losing our loved ones. People can travel, enjoy restaurants and theatres. If you’re hesitant, I recommend doing some research and asking those who have gotten it.