When I was in third grade, so about 9 years old, I got the chickenpox. My little sister and I had them at the same time, and she had the worst case our pediatrician had seen that year. For two weeks, it was calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, and whining. I don’t know how our mother put up with us. As soon as we were cleared to go back to school, our two brothers broke out in the rash, and it was another two weeks of calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, and whining, and I really don’t know how our mother put up with THAT. For a full month she had at least two whiny, itchy, feverish kids. She’d had chickenpox as a kid herself, so re-contracting it wasn’t the issue, but she was at risk of shingles, which can be deadly at worst, and is ridiculously painful and long-lasting at best.
When my kids were getting their standard shots, like the measles-mumps-rubella shot that has been so hotly ‘debated’, and the diphtheria-tuberculosis-pertussis shot, and then whatever else they needed, our pediatrician asked if I wanted them to be vaccinated against chickenpox too. Remembering the miserable experience I’d had as a child, and considering that I was a working mom of two young kids, I jumped on it. I am sure my kids have at some point been exposed to the chickenpox virus because it wasn’t a required vaccine when they were that young, but they’ve never had the disease, and they are at lower risk of a severe case if they do get it. Additionally, their being vaccinated against chickenpox reduces their risk of getting shingles later in life. All of this because I built a relationship of trust with their pediatrician and listened to his counsel.
I bring up chickenpox specifically because the delta variant of Covid-19 is as transmissible as chickenpox. Additionally, we know the signs, symptoms, and duration of chickenpox. We do not know as much about Covid-19 simply because it hasn’t been around as long. The long-term effects thus far have been devastating, and the short-term effects horrifying. Loss of smell and taste, lung damage, heart damage, reproductive disorders, memory loss, do you want me to keep going? Seriously – who would want any of this in the interest of creating “natural immunity” when a controlled option is available? That is precisely what a vaccine does: it creates a natural response in a controlled environment. Like a flight simulator, or driving on a range instead of the road, or a gymnast practicing their routines over and over until they don’t have to think about it, they just DO it. Allowing yourself to contract a highly contagious, incredibly damaging disease is like putting a student driver behind the wheel on the freeway their first time out or letting a passenger guide the plane in for a landing. Why would you risk your life with a disease that could kill you when a practice version is readily and freely available? For the same reasons that you wouldn’t put a student driver on the freeway their first time out or have a passenger land a plane.
Long story short, people: Get the vaccine. Let your body practice fighting it. The side effects are not worse than the disease and this will prevent your death. Protect the people around you who may not be able to receive it. If you were vaccinated against anything else in your life, you can be vaccinated against Covid-19.