May 10, 2021
Read more from Maciej, Physiotherapist
With the ongoing challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the arrival of a vaccine brings hope, optimism, and excitement. As part of the provincial rollout, all health-care workers in our region are now eligible to receive their vaccination and LHSC’s staff and physicians are able to book their appointment with instructions provided by area leadership.
In this series, we are asking: What’s your “why” for receiving the vaccine? We all have a reason that’s personal to us, but there may be some that are universal as well.
Maciej Prajs, Physiotherapist, Respirology shares these thoughts on the community responsibility to get vaccinated.
Why did you decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it was offered to you? It’s simple; it’s the right thing to do. For me it was the community aspect and, as cheesy as it sounds, because we’ve heard it so many times now: we are in this together. I got vaccinated for the same reason that I wear a mask, which is pretty much common sense to me at this point. I do it for my mom, my fiancé, my coworkers, the cashier at the grocery store. I do it for the nurses, doctors and PSWs at work. If I get terribly sick I'm just another person they have to care for, and trust me, these guys need a break. The more people that are vaccinated, the less strain on the health-care system. Let's face it, lockdowns and all these orders are in place because of the hospital situation. You can't have a community without a hospital with available beds. Seeing the effect first hand, I can sleep a little better knowing that my own chances of ending up ventilated are much smaller now that I am vaccinated.
Did you have any doubts about the vaccine and how did you address them? Of course, I had some doubts. We have to question, analyze and look into everything that happens to us and around us. But if you do that, using credible sources, then it's pretty simple. This is nothing new, nothing magical that came out of an unknown science lab. The vaccine has potential side effects but so does everything these days. It simply comes down to statistics and numbers, and I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. What’s important is that people need to look at where their information is coming from: a Facebook 'expert' OR an actual scientist who spent decades studying this topic. I have the privilege of working with some of the most brilliant minds this community has, and if they are getting the vaccine themselves, that means something!
What would you say to someone who is hesitant about getting vaccinated? Do it for the community around you! We have to focus on the responsibility we have for each other, and get away from the individualistic mindset. Do it for other people who struggle from any chronic conditions. If you don't get vaccinated, chances of getting a severe reaction from COVID-19 are high. That’s one less bed in the hospital that could have been available to someone's parent who may have a heart attack or be in a car collision. What I find fascinating to observe is how a lot of the negative, anti-vaccine and anti-masking comments on social media come from individuals who neither work in health care, nor have a health-care worker in their family. You can't talk about how the hospitals are doing unless you're right there on the floor getting a 28-year-old up to the bathroom and seeing them get so short of breath they need to rest after they sit up. It’s so easy to sit home and talk about something that people haven't experienced themselves. This is bigger than any of us and we can’t get through it without prioritizing the well-being of our communities.