Community Health and Wellness

Flint rehabilitation assistant turns down opportunity to take vaccine

Photo: Monique Howard, courtesy of Monique Howard

Written by Jameca Patrick-Singleton

As COVID-19 continues to ravish communities all over the world, the CDC has approved a vaccine aimed at stopping the virus in its tracks. The vaccine, produced by two drug manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, is currently being distributed world wide. In the United States, the vaccine, which required two shots spaced out over a matter of weeks, was first made available to healthcare workers who are likely to be exposed to the virus more frequently than the general public. While some people are still uncertain about taking the vaccine, others have strong feelings either in favor of, or against getting vaccinated for this deadly virus.

Monique Howard is a 29-year-old rehabilitation assistant who lives in the city of Flint. She told the Flint Courier News that she is very concerned about the Covid-19 virus. She stated that she doesn’t feel like everyone is taking the proper precautions, like social distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the spread of the virus. According to Howard, she finds it concerning when she reads about people still meeting up in groups and throwing parties.

“This virus is serious,” Howard said. ” People are getting sick and dying. Of course I miss hanging out with friends and family, but nothing is worth dying over. If we all work together, stay home and prevent the spread of COVID, life can go back to normal. I make sure that I am careful. I don’t visit people except my mother, I make sure that my daughter and I always have a mask and that we both have hand sanitizer and Ziploc bags containing disinfectant wipes in our pockets.”

Though Howard makes every effort to make sure that she and her 11-year-old daughter avoid catching the virus, she is still leery of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vaccine was offered to me by my job” she said. “Though we were not required to take the vaccine we were encouraged to take it.”

Though there is overwhelming evidence that the vaccine is safe, Howard said that she is concerned about some reports of side effects experienced by some people who have taken the vaccine.

“I’ve heard about people who took that vaccine and woke up with Bells Palsy (a type of facial paralysis) or even worse; dying within days of taking the vaccine. That is extremely concerning to me. I feel very uncertain about taking it.”

Howard said that she doesn’t think that scientists had enough time to adequately develop the vaccine. She feels that, due to the urgent global need, the vaccine was rushed and that there may be even more unknown side effects.

“I know that we need to get this virus under control, but I am afraid that the vaccine may create other problems. I’ll just continue to wear my mask and social distancing.”

***According to the CDC all COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure that they are as safe as possible***

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