By Landis Lain
To vax or not to vax. That is the question. I struggle with the answer. Everybody has a different opinion. I do not trust the government of he who shall not be named. The science is so abrupt. I wear my mask every time I go out. I am terrified.
Because as a teenager, my daddy suffered from polio and Guillain-Barre syndrome, my parents were determined that we children be vaccinated. I suffered no childhood diseases beyond a cold, flu or chicken pox which had no vaccine back then. In fact, I remember being lined up in the grade school auditorium of Isaac Newton elementary school with all the other children. The nurses walked down the line with alcohol swabs and a vaccination shot gun that they held to the left arm and pulled the trigger. Pop. Pop. Pop. One child after the other. Then, the nurse gave us each the sugar cube with pink stuff on it and told us to eat it. Polio vaccine. First generation. 1970. The whole school was vaccinated. In one day.
Because we had first responders in our family, I even took my children for extras like Hepatitis A and B. I did not want them to catch anything life threatening. I never once questioned the science or whether vaccines were crucial to the wellbeing of my children. I recall our travels beyond the USA borders that required a vaccine passport to enter their borders. I never balked at taking those shots because we wanted to see world wonders.
So, why am I so scared of the COVID-19 vaccine? Why don’t I trust the science? Is it because it was made into an incredibly divisive political issue? Too much conflicting information? Where has this spirit of fear come from? I ask person after person. I receive conflicting answers. The anti vaxxers remain anti-vax and the pro-vaxxers remain pro-vax. Friends and family arguments rage. What to do?
A few weeks later, I finally decide that I am going to die. Just not from COVID-19 if I can help it. So, I gird my loins – well -, pull up my big girl leggings, dampen my hysterical fear, go online and make the appointment. I mentally freak out for a week. I drive to the old Sears parking lot for the drive-thru clinic. I roll down my window. A little masked lady offers me potential side effects literature. I want Pfizer because I would finish in 21 days, but she puts the pink sheet of paper that reads Moderna on my windshield.
I expose my shoulder. The nurse in gloves, mask and face shield swabs the spot and sticks the needle in my arm. Wait 15 minutes. Easy-peasy. My bestie sends me lunch to celebrate. I suffer fatigue for four days afterwards. Next dose – 28 days. I am still afraid. Not sure why.
Landis Lain has two Young/New Adult novels published by Brown Girls Books titled Daddy’s Baby and Butterfly Arising. Her 2020 short Story ‘Gossamer VooDoo’ is published in the Anthology ‘The Fire Inside’. She has won the Michigan Land Contest for her story Dead King Furniture.
Her short story Rusty Feet was published in Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and Color Him Father. Correct Madness: Diary of a Mad Corrections Officer was her first full length publication. She writes romance, short stories, fantasy, fiction, inspirational and creative nonfiction. She taught writing composition at Lansing Community College and has written for the Lansing State Journal Community Advisory Board.