I never planned to get vaccinated

Columnist and staff writer Tenisha Ferron. Photo courtesy Ferron

Are you vaccinated? I wasn’t.

When the pandemic hit the United States some 20 months ago, I thought great, another recession. I knew the nation would be greatly affected, but when the COVID-19 vaccine arrived, I didn’t think the nation would become so divided.

You were looked down on if you weren’t vaccinated, but I didn’t care. I was certainly unsure if the vaccine was effective or if it was even a real vaccine.

Society really made one feel that if they were not vaccinated, they were either already infected or a “Trump supporter,” and I was not.

Hearing confirmation of deaths from those who became vaccinated pushed me further away from getting the shot. Even though I did catch COVID in March, there were just too many remedies to choose from to combat the virus. I am of Caribbean descent. It did take some time to figure it out, but I slowly recovered.

I also was one of those who thought the government produced the vaccine a little too fast, as there are still other illnesses and diseases that do not have a vaccine. “Why even get it?” I thought.

I recovered from COVID, and I followed the social distancing guidelines. I have been wearing my mask everywhere I go in order to lower the risk of me catching it again. I wasn’t worried about people calling me an “anti-vaxer” because I didn’t boast about being unvaccinated, and it didn’t bother me.

Until I caught COVID a second time. Instead of the normal two weeks it took me to recover the first time. I had a better understanding of what to use, including the traditional cough medicine. This time it didn’t bother me too much though. I thought to myself, Well, I just know what to do next time.

It did bother me a bit the second time, and I decided that I wouldn’t walk out of the house unless it was a complete necessity. That was until I had to interview FAMU President Larry Robinson on a news segment about the university creating the biggest vaccination and COVID testing site for North Florida.

When his assistant told me I had to reschedule the interview due to me not being vaccinated, I felt a type of way. I thought, ‘Wow, OK, I don’t want the university president thinking negatively of me.’ Luckily, he still agreed to do the interview without rescheduling while still being socially distanced, but he did highlight what being unvaccinated does to the community.

What changed my mind was the terms of my career after I graduate college, which is fast approaching. I was confident that I would land a job after graduation and had my life planned — until most corporations made it a requirement to be fully vaccinated.

I did have the choice of opting out, but that would mean more money taken out of the paycheck to maintain weekly COVID tests. I also like to travel overseas, and it was becoming more expensive to take COVD tests at the airport, in addition to a 14-day quarantine upon return.

The day I became vaccinated, I didn’t think much of it. I just did it. I don’t boast that my status has changed, but I also encourage anyone who isn’t vaccinated to just do it. It does better for you and the ones around you, including your loved ones.

I can now travel a bit more freely, and without people giving me the “Ugh, you’re one of those” looks. I can also take the vaccine card to show President Robinson.