If fear of side effects stops you from taking the Covid-19 vaccine, then this is for you

Practical tips to help you overcome your fear and get the vaccine

Do not fear
© Unsplash- https://unsplash.com/s/photos/fear

Disclaimer: I write this article in the general interest to help people overcome their fear of any untoward incidents happening because of taking a jab of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, I highly recommend that you consult your physician and go ahead with the jab.

It’s OK to have fear but at one point it’s vital to overcome it

While there are plenty of articles out there to tell you why or why not should you get vaccinated for Covid-19, I see that there are only very few that takes one through the experience of a common man who has his/her fear in place. Well, this article is intended to help you overcome the fear by sharing my personal experience of getting vaccinated even while being immunocompromised. Even as I write this, there is a mild ache over my left arm which I know will subside over time.

Well, let us accept that it’s normal to have our fears in place. I had my share of fear too. To help you understand where my fear stems from, let me give you a brief about my health. I have a rare autoimmune disorder, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) where my platelet counts are always on the lower side, hanging around 50,000 to 90,000 while the normal range is 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. 

With fatigue, bleeding, internal clotting and episodes of my platelet counts going down after the usual flu/tetanus shots, it was only obvious for me to resist the Covid-19 vaccination.

What helped me in overcoming my fear for getting the Covid-19 vaccine

Interestingly, what made me go ahead with the jab is a lesson I learnt through my living with ITP. Every time that my counts would go low, I’m given two options, either to wait and watch (no kidding!) or to go for steroids medication. Since the side effects of steroids are severe despite it being a saviour, I was treated (or not) weighing the situation with risk of life and risk of the side effects, all the time. If the risk of losing life weighs more, I go for the steroids else I wait and watch, taking one day at a time. It’s this learning of weighing the situation that helped me overcome my fear and resistance towards the Covid-19 vaccination.

The need for getting vaccinated

As you can clearly see, this pandemic is washing out lives in waves. With third-wave lurking around, it’s high time that we all get vaccinated. For once even I had the thought that cases were coming down with many having got vaccinated and so I can avoid the jab. But I’m glad I ignored that thought and went with vaccine. Trust me, today, as I hear about 2 deaths in my circle, from my neighborhood, it only makes sense to NOT IGNORE the COVID CRISIS. The third wave has already started. Better be safe than sorry.

It’s pathetic to see malls and theatres open while the schools are still closed. If not for us, at least for the kids to be able to go to their schools and playgrounds, we need to go ahead and get our jab. Also, it’s the simplest way, getting vaccinated and not overwhelming the systems, in which we can show our gratitude to the healthcare and all frontline workers who are having the toughest times for years together now.

I wouldn’t say or assure that there wouldn’t be any side effects. Every person is different and so is their reaction to the vaccine. I had my share of side effects too, typical of an ITP case with lowered platelet counts (96000 to 70000), gum bleeds, fatigue, bloody stools and mouth blisters. Thankfully, I was spared from fever. But within a week I was able to get over with side effects and in a month, I was able to bounce back to the pre-vaccine level of platelet counts, 96000. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary and pretty much manageable.

© Unsplash https://unsplash.com/s/photos/fear

Practical tips to help you overcome your fear and get the Covid-19 vaccine

Here are few things that helped me get done with both the doses of the Covid-19 vaccination. I’m sure it will be of help to you too:

  • Talk to your physician: This is prime. Consulting a physician with your health history can easily give you clarity on how to go ahead with getting vaccinated. Trust your doctor. I had an online consult with a Haematologist and only upon his say, went with a Covaxin shot. So please go ahead and get a consult. Doctors are out there, working hours together just to help you out. The Haematologist I consulted was kind enough to share his personal number to get in touch in case of an emergency knowing the seriousness of my condition. So trust the doctors and take the step ahead. You can easily get an online consultation through hospitals’ websites or apps like Practo or directly fix an appointment with your family physician at his/her convenience. You can also get a physician consult from this Indian Government initiative E-Sanjeeveni App here .
  • Educate yourself: While I say educate yourself, please do it from authentic resources, not from WhatsApp University. Also avoid the fear-mongering, TRP targeting, sensationalizing media reports. News from print media is far reliable, comparatively. You don’t necessarily need to know the science behind the vaccine, but should certainly know the statistics of the pandemic, the unending cases and the need for vaccination. It’s also important to know the ground realities, the pressure on healthcare workers and their diligent efforts. Attaching a link to this amazing healthcare worker Dr Akshatha Nayak‘s Instagram profile to help you understand the importance of vaccination and for reliable sources. Please take time to see go through her posts and if you are on Instagram, follow her. She shares resources and ground realities on her stories. Linking some must read posts here, here and here and I’m sure, you will be enough convinced now to get your shot.
  • Be Prepared: Being prepared gives a sense of security and helps overcome fear. Few things that you can do is:
    • Jot down emergency contact numbers (doctors, hospitals, ambulances) and keep them handy and put it in a place at your home where it’s accessible and visible. I put it up on my refrigerator.
    • Check out resources from your locality for supplies and meal provisions and have their contact numbers put up too.
    • Have vegetables, fruits and dry fruits stocked ahead. Stock up your pantry with some healthy and mild snacking options. If possible, go for meal preps beforehand that can be refrigerated for few days. I had idli/dosa batter and rice mixes ready. Most importantly, had this porridge mix ready at hand. It’s a saviour and would highly recommend having at least this porridge mix ready. Check the recipe here
    • Ask for help from family or have house help. Delegate works prior, so you know you can rest well and heal without worrying about work getting done.
    • It’s better if family members take the vaccine in turns and not at the same time. So even if one falls sick, there are others to help and take care of.
    • Keep your neighbours or friends/relatives, who are of close reach, informed about your vaccine schedule. If necessary, you can ask for their help and they will also be able to pitch in, without room for any panic.
  • Listen to your body: Trust your instincts. Listen to your body. Nourish it with mild and easily digestible food. Give it the time to heal. Rest as much as possible. Get good sleep.
  • Look at the big picture: Well, you might think you can stay home safe and take all precautions not to get infected with Corona but let me get it clear, even if you don’t step out, there are high chances that you might get infected. Also, it’s not only for you that you need to get vaccinated but it’s for the wellbeing of all of us, especially kids and the vulnerable and sick people who are already battling critical illnesses and can neither take vaccines nor fight corona.
  • Fighting together: Please understand that you are not alone in this battle and it’s not the time to play politics or blame game. We are all in it together and only when we all get vaccinated, can we even think of coming out of this pandemic.
  • Have faith: More than anything else, this helps, having faith. If you are a theist, have faith in the Almighty and if you are an atheist have faith in science and your body’s innate power to heal. And above all, have faith in humanity, you will get the right help at the right time. Have faith, okay?!

Hope this post gives you some clarity and help you overcome your fear and go for the Covid-19 vaccination. Feel free to drop an email at promisingpoetry5@gmail.com if at all you have any doubts or concerns. I may help you find the right resources.

Take care.

Blessed be.

‘This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.


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