By Saul Rosa
Working in a hospital setting, I was granted the opportunity to be one of the first groups in Lubbock to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
My employer sent out an email to all employees informing us of a mass vaccination clinic that would be held in the conference rooms of the hospital. They provided a link with days and times to sign-up and strongly encouraged it.
I was skeptical, to say the least. My concern, like many others, was the bio-tech companies had manufactured a vaccine too quickly. And because the FDA fast-tracked the process for it to become available to the public, it could not provide enough data, for my liking, to reveal what potential adverse effects it could have on the one receiving it.
I was conflicted. The health care worker in me knew that getting inoculated could help reduce the spread of the virus. At the time, 400 to 600 positive cases were being confirmed daily. But fear and my skeptical mind couldn’t shake the idea of how quickly formulated the vaccine came to be, and it gave rise to my hesitation.
Up until then, I had only known of a few acquaintances who had contracted the corona virus, and all had recovered fully. No one in my family or personal circle of friends had been affected. And for that reason, I was given a false sense that the virus wouldn’t affect me. That quickly changed!
I found out that my uncle and his family had tested positive for the virus. His wife and son were slowly recovering, but my uncle’s symptoms began to worsen. He was admitted to the hospital and placed on a ventilator. After weeks of prayer and remaining optimistic for a full recovery, my uncle passed away on Dec. 7 due to complications of COVID-19. A week later, me and two of my siblings were pall bearers for his graveside services. The next day, one of those siblings also tested positive.
The tragedy of losing a family member, and the virus infiltrating my personal family circle, was profound and eye-opening. The façade I had been living was destroyed, and reality finally set in. COVID-19 is real and eventually will have an impact on your life, whether you acknowledge it or not. I was vaccinated the next day.
It is unfortunate that it took the extreme circumstance of losing a loved one to change my perception of the vaccine and was the catalyst for me to get inoculated. But it doesn’t have to be so with you!
We owe it to ourselves and the rest of the citizens of this earth to get vaccinated. Our lives depend on it! Yes, I struggled with the idea of getting vaccinated. But for me, at the end of the day, it boils down to one thing: Do I leave myself defenseless to a disease that is killing millions around the world? Or do I arm myself with a FREE vaccine that could prevent me from contracting and spreading it? It is that simple.
Since early December, Lubbock and surrounding counties have been issuing the COVID-19 vaccine, and many people have already received their second dose. On Jan. 8, 2021, the Lubbock Health Department reported 355 new positive cases. Since then, the number of newly reported cases has been declining. As of Feb. 14, there were only 35 new cases. Lubbock has not seen that few reported cases since August. In addition, since Jan. 12, there has been a 46% decline in newly reported cases nationally, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project. The data shows the vaccine is working.
Not only are our physical lives dependent on receiving the vaccine, but our social lives are at stake too. This is a global pandemic, and it affects EVERYONE! It is evident in the way we now attend school, eat in restaurants, travel, and how we participate in sporting events, whether as a fan or an athlete.
For the past four months, Lubbock businesses have been restricted to operate at only 50% capacity or not at all, due to the hospitalization rate surpassing 15% for seven consecutive days. Lubbock marked the seventh consecutive day that the hospitalization rate was under 15% on Feb. 2. Under Governor Abbott’s issuance of Executive Order GA-32 on Oct. 8, 2020, this permitted restaurants to operate at 75% capacity and bars at 50% capacity. I believe this was accomplished due to people receiving the vaccine.
Ultimately, it is everyone’s responsibility, as humans, to end this disease. This is not the time to act out of fear. This is a defining moment in the world’s history, when we must courageously step-up and do our part. We have the power to make a difference. So, I strongly encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, because yours and many others lives, depend on it.