Conflicted About Vaccines? You’re Not Alone. One Nurse’s Story

September 15, 2021

Christie, a mother of two, and a registered nurse at Ocean Medical Center, has worked tirelessly on the frontlines of COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic. She was among the first people eligible to get the COVID vaccine when it received emergency use authorization, but she decided not to get it, until now. What made her change her mind?

Christie shares her personal struggle with the decision to get vaccinated. 

“When the vaccine first became available, I didn’t want to get it,” she says. Christie was uncomfortable being among the first to be vaccinated. There was an abundance of information on news channels and social media, and family, friends and colleagues all had opinions, which made her hesitant to get the vaccine. She felt strongly that she was not going to make a choice before she was sure what was true.

So, when the new vaccine mandate was rolled out, which required all health care workers to get vaccinated, Christie chose to apply for a religious exemption instead and get tested weekly. She was thrilled when she was granted the exemption and didn’t have to go through with getting vaccinated. But things around her changed in no time, which also changed her mind.

A Different Patient Population

Christie started seeing younger and healthier people getting severely sick, and many people who were unvaccinated either didn’t make it or were in intensive care. “Those who were vaccinated had better outcomes,” she says.

Christie started to get panic attacks on her way back home from work. She spoke to her colleagues, friends, family, and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and found herself surrounded by a lot of mixed messages.

One of those work days, Christie found out that one of her COVID-19 patients, who was also a young mother of two and unvaccinated, wasn’t going to make it. She saw herself in a very similar space as her patient. She recalled the fear in her patient’s eyes when she said to Christie “What about my kids?”. This emotion and fear of leaving her kids alone without a mother, made her pick up the phone and make the appointment for the vaccine that very same day. With 20 minutes before the center closed, Christie rushed downstairs to get vaccinated. “I did it for my kids. What if they were without a mom?” she says.

Feeling Relieved 

That day, Christie went home feeling relieved from anxiety for the first time in a long time. She decided to look at what was infront of her – the vaccinated people were able to go home, and the unvaccinated were getting severely sick. “It was like I knew I made the right choice… for the first time I went home and I could breathe.”

Christie still believes in the right to choose whether to get vaccinated or not. She did it for her family and would like others who are experiencing the same dilemma, to look at what’s in front of them and make the decision. Hear directly from Christie.

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