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At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there were murmurs of “possible vaccines”, I was a firm no. Summer has arrived, and with the heat came all the rumors of possible side effects; I always said, “No, I won’t understand. Fall has arrived and with it another wave (I lost track … was it the third wave? Fourth?) Of infections and hospitalizations.

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 has steadily increased. Along with so many others, I realized that our hope that this pandemic would end with summer had not come true. It was around this time that I realized that maybe I should pay a little more attention to all the vaccine talk and instead of just shaking my head, learn more – not random people online, but real experts.

So I always turned to Internet users, but this time, it was epidemiologists and immunologists who were experts in viruses and vaccines. These people really knew what they were talking about, and I felt pretty desperate for that. I wanted hard facts, real numbers, and unbiased data. These were people whose stories and articles I saw and read on a daily basis, and slowly over time I began to question many of the old beliefs I had about vaccines.

See, it wasn’t just the COVID-19 vaccine that I was changing my mind about. It was all vaccines.

When I got pregnant with my first child over six years ago, I went from never really thinking about vaccines (other than getting them) to discovering this whole other world of people who thought they were harmful. The seed of fear was planted in me, and over time it only got bigger.

I can see why I believed what I was doing and feel no shame about it, just as I don’t feel ashamed that these beliefs have changed over the past year.

I was told that the risks of the vaccine were greater than the risks of illness. I was told that injuries from vaccines happen often. I was told that the doctors took advantage of the vaccines. And you know what? It was really hard to figure out what was true and what was not because I felt so vulnerable and uncertain as a new mom.

I remember someone saying, “Once you’ve vaccinated you can’t undo that, but if you choose to wait you can always change your mind later”, and it stuck with me. . So I didn’t do anything. I felt paralyzed. Making decisions is already a challenge for me, so avoiding them has become the easiest and most comfortable choice.

Looking back, I have the impression of being the prey of a new mother; I was an easy target. I can see why I believed what I was doing and feel no shame about it, just as I don’t feel ashamed that these beliefs have changed over the past year.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about people who choose not to get vaccinated, and now more than ever we are seeing people attacked and tried for it. While I understand where this is coming from and why people feel so strong, I also see that it doesn’t help. You can’t shame someone for really changing their perspective.

It took a pandemic to change my mind. A hell of a pandemic! (As well as the educators who were kind and direct.) Most people who don’t get vaccinated or their children aren’t really against the idea of ​​vaccines, they just don’t believe the ones we have are safe. . They want to see more studies being done. There is a lack of confidence and a lot of doubt; I think it opens the door to believing things that maybe you wouldn’t normally do.

If you’re feeling frustrated with people refusing to get a COVID-19 shot, the answer isn’t to try to scare them or make them worse. It is providing facts with benevolence. We all try to do what we think is right, listen to the people we think are telling the truth, to keep our children as safe as possible. Our actual goals are probably very similar; we just have different ideas of how we can achieve them. Maybe by listening to each other more, we can find common ground and really be able to move forward.

I went from “anti-vaxxer” to getting the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinating my children. I found peace in my decision, and that’s what I hope everyone can find. Whatever decision you make, take it with the knowledge that you can feel comfortable with; make a decision based on facts and evidence from real sources.

If you’re feeling frustrated with people refusing to get a COVID-19 shot, the answer isn’t to try to scare them or make them worse. It is providing facts with benevolence.

A lot of people have asked me what really made me change my mind when it comes to getting the vaccine. Was it a certain person? Was this specific information?

What made me change my mind was that I had no more reason not to get it.

When I said I would not get the vaccine, I had a list of reasons. Things like fear of side effects, worrying about its effectiveness, wondering if the herd’s natural immunity was better, etc. One by one, these reasons were removed from my list as I learned more.

I decided it made more sense to trust the people who were vaccine and virus experts (I know, duh – but I was convinced these experts were all biased or bought off; that’s not true ). I quickly learned that some of what I had heard before about vaccines and coronaviruses from non-experts just wasn’t accurate – it didn’t even make scientific sense! These are the people who won my trust and ultimately changed their mind.

At first I would read the things they posted and think, “No, that’s not true” because it went against what I had previously believed, but it didn’t take long to recognize that they were the real truth tellers and that the people I had listened to before really didn’t understand what they were talking about or intentionally wanted to deceive people. It no longer made sense for me to listen to random people in Facebook groups or doctors in fields unrelated to virology to these experts.

It’s not just that I learned new things; it was also that things that I believed to be true were not. I’ve learned that a few people are responsible for most of the anti-vaccine misinformation and are taking advantage of this! I have learned that the VAERS vaccine reporting system is being abused by people who add “side effects” who clearly have nothing to do with a vaccine, but also that the CDC really look into the serious reports (which we’ve seen as it publicly reports new side effects from various COVID-19 vaccines). My confidence in vaccines has increased and my confidence in those who oppose them has collapsed.

Changing your mind, especially strongly held views, is difficult. It’s hard to admit that you were wrong or that you listened to the wrong people, but you know what I achieved? It is also very liberating. It feels good to allow your views to change as you gain new information or experiences and recognize that as growth rather than sticking around and trying to stick with something that you don’t. more suitable.

Let’s normalize by changing our mind. Let’s support people who choose to grow up rather than get stuck. And let’s end this pandemic by choosing facts and kindness, even when we don’t totally agree.

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