• 72°

EVANS COLUMN: Why I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine

When Gov. Brian Kemp made the announcement last week that all adults 16 and over were eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I immediately started trying to find a place to get the shot.

I’d made up my mind long before that the vaccine was the best way to end this pandemic and that getting the shot was in the best interest of me, my family and society as a whole. So far, about 29 percent of the U.S. population has agreed with me, as that many people have received at least one shot.

I’m tired of wearing masks, and I’m ready for being in crowds to be a normal thing again. I’m tired of occasionally seeing distant, older family members and wondering if it’s foolish to even be in the same room with them. I’m tired of coming home, feeling a little “off” and wondering if I’m coming down with COVID-19 and passing it on to my wife and children.

At the newspaper, we’ve written so many stories of people who were extremely sick with COVID-19, and 175 total people have died in Troup County.  Last year at this time, we were all learning how to use Zoom for meetings and wondering if the pandemic could really go on for weeks, or even months, longer.

Well, here we are one-year in, and there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. That light is there due to the vaccine and thanks to an inevitable fall in cases considering such a large percentage of the population has likely already been exposed to the virus.

For anyone wondering, I received the Moderna vaccine. I woke up with a dry throat on Saturday — probably due to the increased pollen count — and then received the vaccine. Since then, I’ve felt like I had a cold. Nothing major, and I’m not entirely sure I wasn’t already coming down with it beforehand. Regardless, it’s very minor symptoms and well worth dealing with to not have COVID-19. And yes, my arm was sore, but it’s getting better and was never a major issue.

I realize a lot of you out there are probably hesitant to get the vaccine, and I understand that anything new is going to get that sort of reaction. If I had the money, I’m not sure that I’d jump in and buy a flying car if they suddenly existed today either. But this is different. These are science-backed, effective vaccinations that can end this pandemic and make life normal again.

There are plenty of rumors on Facebook about the vaccine, but I encourage you to do your own research when trying to make a decision. Everyone has their own background, health issues and risk factors to consider when deciding, but those are good conversations to have with a doctor.

I’m not sure my parents were going to get vaccinated either, but in January they both came down with COVID-19 and didn’t move from the couch for about three weeks. Mom was mostly OK, but dad had a pretty rough time. They had all the symptoms — no taste or smell, high fevers, no energy. I was thankful they didn’t end up in the hospital.

Afterward, both were determined to get the vaccine. They never wanted to feel like that again, and they have both been vaccinated.

Between my wife and my parents, we’ve had all three available vaccines, so we’re essentially a de facto family case study. None of us have had any crazy symptoms from the shot.

I’m sure there’s going to be more and more local opportunities to get a COVID-19 shot over the next few weeks. If you want one, I don’t think they’ll be hard to find if you look at all the places (including pharmacies) giving one out.

A little poke in the arm and a sneeze here or there is well worth it if means this pandemic is one shot closer to being over.