Why I got the vaccine – Dr. Sarah Coles


Hello everyone! Dr. Sarah Coles here, one of your Nerdy Girls. I’m very proud to announce that this weekend I was able to get my first dose of the Covid19 vaccine!

It was a powerful experience for me, and I wanted to take a moment to share with you why I got the vaccine.

As a family physician, I am privileged to care for patients of all ages with all sorts of different medical problems in the hospital and in my primary care office. This means I also care for people with Covid19 and so I was early in the line to get the vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that healthcare workers like me and people living in long term care facilities be the first groups to receive the vaccine.

I got the call on Saturday that I could get my shot and I can tell you that I didn’t hesitate. I have been following the research closely and watched the FDA and ACIP meetings with interest. I personally reviewed every last scrap of data I could get my hands on about the vaccines and concluded that the vaccine is both safe and effective. I also know that research is ongoing, and I trust in the robust vaccine safety monitoring system in place. I have seen firsthand how devastating Covid19 is and, like many healthcare workers out there, I often feel scared, tired, and angry. The pandemic has been hard on all of us and I truly believe that the vaccine is a critical step to ending the pandemic.

When I got my shot, I was so overwhelmed, overjoyed, and relieved I actually cried. And I wasn’t the only one! The atmosphere was a celebration. I could see the relief and joy on people’s faces as they were giving and receiving the vaccine. This moment was a testament to the scientists, clinical trial volunteers, and public health workers who made this happen. Of course, this isn’t over and there will be lots of hard work and hard times ahead, but it is a bright moment of hope.

It’s now been 3 days since my vaccine, and I feel great! I had a sore arm for the first two days, but no other symptoms. I’ve also never been so happy to have my arm hurt! This is a demonstration of reactogenicity, or the physical symptoms of my immune system kicking in and ramping up. I signed up for V-Safe, the smartphone-based tool that allows vaccine recipients to report any side effects directly to the CDC. It’s easy and kinda fun. I get my text message every day and fill out a survey on how I’m doing.

My hope is that when it is your turn to get vaccinated, you will join me in doing so. I know many people have a lot of questions about the vaccine and some very real fears. Please talk with your primary care clinician about any concerns or questions you might have. It is important that you feel safe and informed in your decision making.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Much love,
Sarah Coles, MD

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