*Edit: Added a couple of medical ailments that I forgot to mention in my initial draft (GERD, the fact that I’m still actively breastfeeding).
Just a quick one on my thoughts about the Covid-19 vaccination exercises that are taking place in my country and elsewhere around the world.
We’ve all been through so much in the past year or so that the sudden emergence of vaccines that promise to bring things back under control and back to a normal that we can all comfortably embrace is so tempting. A glimmer of hope that this entire nightmare might possibly end.
But even if, let’s say, things do change, will they turn out to be the way we hope they will?
An Issue of Convenience
I’ll say this upfront. I’m by no means an anti-vaxxer.
My parents gave me all the mandatory childhood vaccinations that were required in Malaysia, and I have done the same for my 2 young kids. In fact, my husband and I went so far as to even get some of the optional vaccinations for our children, wherever we felt it would be beneficial for them and it was within our financial capabilities to do so.
Prior to the emergence of Covid-19, I was even considering taking an annual flu vaccine to boost my immunity towards such viruses as I tend to be susceptible to allergies and the flu fairly often.
So one part of me is just thinking, “There’s a vaccine out. Let’s just get it and then we can stop worrying about Covid-19, just like we did for every other major illness that surfaced in the past and which we now have routine/normal vaccination options available for.”
But I must say that I am a little disturbed by stories and bits and bobs of information that have come to my attention every so often lately.
Well, yes, you shouldn’t believe every single bit of news you read, especially on the Internet. I am an ex-journo, so I am certainly very aware of this as it once determined my ability to perform respectably at my job.
But yet… amidst the rumour mongering and possibly fake news, there seems to be a certain grain of truth to it. And I’m not sure that I’m seeing some of these community concerns/sentiments being addressed adequately.
I do hope our local media will pick up on these things, and actually create content to either quell people’s fears or amplify real issues that require addressing, but I don’t know how much we can count on that happening seeing how other national issues are often reported on around here.
That’s just one part to it.
A Cloud of Confusion
Browsing through incidents and information that are from overseas origins hasn’t been reassuring in the least. It pretty much seems like nearly everyone is just groping about in the dark and not entirely sure of what they are doing, Governments included.
So can anyone actually tell us how worried we should be about getting the vaccine? As in the actual health risks and how likely it is to be a problem, given a particular person’s health history?
I am not a terribly sick individual, but my health is not exactly in pristine condition either.
I have eczema (of the atopic dermatitis variety), which I learned in recent times is actually an auto-immune disease. This has been something that has plagued me as far back in my life as I can remember; sometimes to a lesser degree, and at other times, significantly enough to make me miserable. As a child, I also suffered from asthma, but this is thankfully something I outgrew. (How is that possible even? I don’t really know, but I am grateful that it turned out this way, of course.)
As a child, I underwent surgery for an external growth discovered at the top corner of my head.
While I was working as a journalist, I was once given the wrong vaccination at a company panel clinic. This was a somewhat scary incident. I can’t really recall if I reported this to my employers, but I certainly did not lodge any public complaints/reports (much to my regret, actually). I did suspect that this wrong administration of vaccines contributed to a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome issue I developed not long afterwards, but I am not sure how this can even be proved/disproved.
Also during the course of the above mentioned career, I developed gastric issues and was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
I was unable to have natural births for both my sons. The first time, it was because it was an emergency (nuchal cord). As for the second round, we took the route of a schedule C-section because there was a risk of uterine rupture. (This was brought about because of the removal of a cyst from my uterus wall during my first delivery, which had led to significant thinning at a certain region, hence causing this risk to arise).
I had cysts growing in my uterus in both my pregnancies. The one that grew during my second delivery has been left as is because my gynae is the kind that feels it’s best to leave things alone if they aren’t presently causing any trouble to me.
Post delivery (for my eldest), I developed a visible lump on my throat which turned out to be a thyroglossal cyst. Doctor told me there was a low chance that it would turn cancerous, but that it could be removed if desired. Husband and I decided to leave it be, since I was breastfeeding our first child at the time, and I wasn’t keen on weaning just for this reason. The cyst shrunk in size till it wasn’t visible externally, so it’s been left where it is inside of me till this day.
I have been battling with a persistent toenail fungus issue over the past 4-5 years. It flared up during both MCO periods, such that I had to seek medical attention. I was prescribed both topical and oral meds, which most times did not work. Finally, a laser treatment helped to cure the problem. But now I have areas on my toe skin that are extremely sensitive and have been unable to heal up until now. My toenails have also yet to resume growing normally.
Oh, and of course, this is something that should not go unmentioned… I am still breastfeeding my youngest son, who is under 2 years of age.
With these things all forming part of my medical history, can anyone tell me truthfully what are the odds that I may suffer a decline in my quality of life from a Covid-19 vaccine? I haven’t yet caught the virus after it being in existence for a year or so, and I don’t really head out in public much.
What if I don’t take the vaccine? Does it significantly harm myself and others?
Which doctor should I consult in order to get my answers? I do not have a regular one that I visit, although I have seen quite a few for all the health issues I mentioned above.
Drawing a Conclusion
All these being considered, I would say that I hesitate to step forward and take a vaccine that may possibly aggravate auto-immune responses in my body. I have had enough unusual circumstances happen to me over the course of my lifetime, and I don’t need more. Perhaps these seem trivial compared to things that others endure, but I would say I’d like to keep it at the level that it’s currently at.
So, in a gist, I am NOT registering to take a Covid-19 vaccine at the moment. It does not mean I will refuse one in the future though.
It all depends on whether I feel a considerable degree of confidence in what is being offered. Right now I do not.
I think this post is long enough as it is and I don’t wish to delve into the finer details of why I am not convinced nor confident about the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines that are currently in use across the globe. (But of course, if you were to request for it, dear Reader, I would certainly consider having a deeper conversation about it to a certain extent. I am by no means keen on a debate though, so for that sort of thing, do direct your gaze elsewhere around the Web.)
I have also been urging loved ones closest to me to consider (or to revisit, if they have already pondered over it) delaying their registration and/or receipt of this vaccine. I am rather concerned on the repercussions it may have on them (regardless of whether their health has issues as mine had, but especially if they are of the older demographic).
As a whole, I do not think it is healthy for anyone (authorities especially) to try and coerce others to take this vaccine. Everyone should be given the space and freedom to process the available information and situation around them and to decide things in a manner that they feel comfortable with.
I am all for freedom of choice here within reason (e.g if someone is actually contagious and their refusal to seek medical help or comply with local laws will have an impact others in the community, then of course, it might be a different story).
In particular, I am not at all pleased with how some people are shaming or ridiculing others who have views that are different from their own. Many anti-vaxxers out there tend to give off such vibes, but I think it is not just them that are the problem here. We should all respect the decisions of others, and try to see things from their perspective, as should be the case in all life’s issues.
And that, ladies and gents, is where I’m at in my view of the whole Covid-19 vaccination issue.
I’m going to take my leave here. I need to pay a visit to the toilet. And chores beckon while day breaks.