Why I got the COVID-19 vaccine - Shara Junaid

I got the vaccine for myself but mostly for my family and those around me. I have several family members and coworkers who are at risk for severe COVID-19. Knowing this was a layer of protection for them really helped. I did also see people admitted to hospital for COVID-19 who were similar to me in age and who looked like me – we don’t know what kind of outcome we could have if we get COVID-19.   

If you have the vaccine you’re less likely to contract COVID-19. The protection that comes from that fact alone is huge for me.

I know some might not be interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you know someone who is undecided about the vaccine, I would ask them why. I would approach it as a conversation and share all of the information I have. Some people’s concerns are understandable in the sense that there’s so much information out there and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what’s true from what’s not.

It’s completely understandable to be worried about something that is new. There’s this specific fear about the safety of mRNA vaccines because people think they were created quickly. In reality, there are years of development behind this technology that already existed. We’re lucky to have had access to existing innovations that helped us develop this vaccine.

It’s a miracle that we had what we needed to get the vaccine ready so quickly. Now we can protect ourselves, our loves ones and get back to some sense of normalcy.

The factor of herd immunity is also important – of getting the COVID-19 vaccine not just for yourself but also in order to create a blanket of protection for those who can’t get vaccinated.

If someone you know is undecided about the vaccine, share your experience with them. If it were me, I’d tell them I was vaccinated and that I experienced mild side effects that included a headache and feeling tired, and which only lasted a few days.

And if you are undecided about the vaccine, the key thing is ask someone you trust who may have more information and if they can’t answer you they might be able to direct you to someone who can or to trusted resources. We’re lucky working in healthcare to have so many people around us who can share their knowledge with us! Don’t be afraid to ask your questions.

Honestly, the thing I felt when I got vaccinated was a huge sense of relief. I just want everyone to feel that and have access to that and the protection it provides.

Shara Junaid is the Manager of Infection Prevention and Control at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s. She got her COVID-19 vaccine. Get yours.

As told to Selma Al-Samarrai. This interview has been edited and condensed.