Around the world, different COVID vaccines have become available for the public, hoping to put an end to the pandemic that has changed lives forever. As with every new medicine that comes out, some skeptical people were unsure whether they would get vaccinated or not. Among those were patients with a specific diagnosis who did not know how the vaccine would affect their current treatments. However, there is a long list of patients who understand the risks but decided to get vaccinated. That is why Lyme disease patient and Health Coach Erika Schlick shares why she got the COVID vaccine.
At the beginning of the year, as vaccines began to become available, discussions were had. What were the risks of getting the vaccine? Would it actually stop the spread of COVID-19? Would people opt to get vaccinated? According to a poll done by ABC10 in February, one in three Americans said they would not be getting the vaccine. This meant that even though 67% of Americans would get the vaccine, there was still a percentage reluctant to do so. Opening up the floor for another discussion: what would happen if not everyone is vaccinated?
The same poll explained the vast majority (63%) of those who said they would not get the vaccine chose not to do so because they are worried about side effects. This is something people facing different medical diagnoses have struggled with. They wonder if the vaccine will bring added side effects that could affect their health. However, not everyone living with a particular diagnosis has refused to get vaccinated. Erika Schlick — Health Coach you may know from her blog, The Trail to Health, and author of Wandering Palate: 28 Days of Meals Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free & Paleo — has been living with Lyme disease and in remission for several years now. She decided to get the COVID vaccine.
“Getting the COVID vaccine was not an easy decision for me,” says Schlick. “I did a lot of research, spoke with all my doctors, and felt in my intuition what was right for my body and life. Between my history of Lyme Disease, CIRS, and multiple Autoimmune Conditions, I feel like either direction is hard.” After speaking with her physicians and thinking it over for a long time, this patient decided the best for her life and health would be to get vaccinated. A lot of thought went into this decision, and Erika Schlick shared a few reasons why she went in this direction.
Not wanting another disease with unknowns
After dealing with the effects of Lyme disease and a delayed diagnosis, Schlick does not want to face another illness that might bring unknown consequences: “Although Lyme has been known for almost 50 years, we still have no proper and accurate testing. It is grossly understudied and unfunded for as widespread as it is. Having already had a disease with so many unknowns, the thought of having a second one is horrifying. Not only that, no one really knows the long-term issues that COVID can cause.”
Picking what you fear most: COVID or the vaccine
One correct answer does not exist in this situation as we continue to face unprecedented events. “You have to choose what causes more worry and stress for you individually based on your current health and perspective,” explains Schlick. “For some people, the thought of getting COVID is less of a stress or concern. For some getting the vaccine seems more of a risk than getting COVID, and for others, the thought of getting the vaccine seems like the safest option. You have to do what is best for you based on your intuition and current health state.”
Choosing the best for your mental health
The pandemic has affected people in different ways. Many of them have struggled with their mental health. “Though this year has been extremely productive, and I have accomplished a lot of goals and hobbies,” says Schlick, “at the end of the day, I am an extrovert and miss socializing dearly. My cortisol has been elevated the last two times I ran labs, and I really think this is due to stress and not having healthy relationships or socializing. At a certain point, I have to reintegrate into living my life, and this vaccine will give me protection to do so and feel safe about it.”
If you are still unsure of what direction to go in, you should discuss it with your doctors and hear what they have to say. That is what Erika Schlick did: “after several conversations with my doctors, reviewing my current health, labs, and previous health history, they all advised I would do well with the vaccine. It would ease some of the stress I am experiencing from isolating myself for the past year. They also agreed that COVID could cause serious issues for me, and if my number one goal is to avoid COVID at all costs, this seems like the right decision for me.”
Erika Schlick is one of the many individuals facing the tough decision of whether to get vaccinated or not. After facing a life-changing disease, she did not know what the best option would be. However, after deliberate thinking and talking to her doctors, she decided to get vaccinated. This is a decision many have opted for, trying to put an end to the pandemic. Nevertheless, at least for now, the discussions around the vaccine will not stop.