I work in women's health. I'm both on the front lines, in that I'm going to a hospital and putting on lots of PPE while people breathe on me heavily, but I'm, you know, I have not been on the COVID wards. So I've been in a funny in between place.
I think some of my early thoughts about the vaccine were pretty hesitant, particularly given the early studies that came out about people not having long-term immunity after getting COVID. You know, even if we trust the design process and we trust all of the experiments that have been done and all of the studies that have been done and the FDA approval process, the fact that it literally has only existed for a year and they're literally, even if everything is done perfectly, which I am ready to accept that it has, not enough time has elapsed for us to study long-term sequela.
And then of course the other pause is that I'm trying to get pregnant and I've been trying to get pregnant and I think a little piece of me is just hoping that by the time it's offered to me, I'll be pregnant and then it won't- I don't know - nothing is tested on pregnant women because ethically you can't. So that also means that we don't know that it's safe. We don't know that it's not safe. And then you're, you're trying to compare these very hypothetical situations that the risk of getting the vaccine while pregnant and also there's the little niggling worry or guilt that if you did this thing that, you know, COVID, it's like sort of this passive, it happens to you kind of assuming you're taking all the precautions, whereas getting the vaccine is this active choice. So if there's something that happens after making this active choice to you or your unborn child, like that's, that's a lot more to live with. It's just complicated.
In general as healthcare workers, we're supposed to be vaccine advocates. And so I think that there's some shyness around coming out with any doubts, but I, I, you know, chatter around the nurse's station. I think there's a lot of doubts and just the not wanting to be the first ones.
For me, extended community is so important. And my partner and I have created a life where there's just constantly people coming in and out. I just thought about all the parties we would go to or different picnics or someone's birthday, or it's a holiday. And people are invited who maybe I wouldn't have gone out of my way to see one-on-one, but you end up chatting because he saw them at the last party and like all the little sort of interactions that go into maintaining a network- and even the people who've been deep friends for years- if you're not nurturing that, and you're not having that sort of regular contact it, it loses its richness.
It's such a personal choice and everyone has such a personal relationship to their health and to their body and to the medical system and to every interaction they've had with the medical system and that their families had with the medical system since before they were born. It all, it all factors in to the decision-making that people are going through. And I think that particularly people of color and people who've been not treated well by our current system, it's really tough because simultaneously at greater risk of getting sick with COVID and should be first in line to get access to this vaccine, but also historically have been the subjects of studies and poorly provided care. And so I totally understand the hesitancy that would exist there.
The nurse's station, the other day, where the nurse who was talking about like where we would be in line, but was talking excitedly about the vaccine and another nurse was like, "You're gonna get it?" like kind of incredulous. And she's like, absolutely. I live with this person with this immunocompromise thing, this person with this immune account, like I sign me up, I am first in line and the nurse who asked the question was like, "Oh, okay, interesting."
We're just all- it's such an emotional decision. Like we try to pretend like this is science, but at the end of the day it is such an emotional decision and it is so impacted by just group dynamics and, yeah, so I think we need to appreciate what the role that that's playing.
And I started to think about like, oh gosh, it'd be nice to have a dinner party. Like maybe I'll just get the vaccine and sure would be nice to hug my friends. You know, is that really what my whole decision analysis comes down to?