In early January, I received an email saying that I was eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, this shocked me; I only knew healthcare workers were eligible for the vaccine. After reading the email, I learned because I had been volunteering with the American Red Cross during the pandemic, I was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in phase 1A.
Even though this news was exciting, I could not help but feel guilty for being eligible for the vaccine. I thought about my parents, my teachers and frontline workers everywhere. I thought about the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by COVID-19.
Why should I, a mere 18-year-old, get the vaccination before other deserving people? However, with the advice from family and friends, I still decided to schedule a time for my vaccine.
At the vaccination clinic, I was the youngest person there. At that time, only people 75 and older and healthcare workers were eligible for the vaccine. I felt out of place and I even thought about leaving the clinic.
Nevertheless, every worker I saw during my vaccination was nothing but supportive. Immediately after my vaccine, I received an email from the Indiana Department of Health, thanking me for doing my part in keeping Indiana safe. From this email, I realized that getting the vaccine did not simply mean I was protecting myself; it was also an indirect way to protect those around me.
After my first dose, I noticed many news articles explaining the overflow of vaccines. It became more apparent that getting the vaccine was more helpful than scheduling an appointment and not showing up, as the clinic could throw away the vaccine at the end of the day. A week before my first dose, WTHR posted an article explaining how Indiana hospitals were finding ways to deal with leftover COVID-19 vaccines, instead of throwing them away. Now, many vaccination sites have leftover vaccines that people who stand by can get.
I encourage everyone to get the vaccine as soon as they’re eligible. Even though there may be some guilt, for those who haven’t received the vaccine or for those who didn’t get the chance to, getting the vaccine will not take away the vaccine from someone else.
In fact, getting the vaccine could prevent one from being thrown away. Vaccines are integral in stopping this pandemic. When you can, do your part in keeping yourself, your friends and family and our community safe by getting the vaccine.
The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Calina He at [email protected]
To sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana, click here.