When the governor announced the lockdown for the first time last year, my roommate and I decided to move back to our parents’ homes and isolate from them. We worked in the same company as web developers, so our bosses were okay with us working remotely. So we let go of the apartment and bid our goodbyes to each other.
Living With My Parents Again
My parents lived on a farm in Nebraska, where they took care of cattle and sheep. Mom and dad were thrilled when they found out that I was moving back home because they always complained that I might have been loving the city air too much that I could not stay with them longer than a couple of days every visit. There was no work-from-home option in the past in my defense, so I always needed to cut my trip short.
I would say that being a farm girl was extremely enjoyable, specifically because my parents’ neighbors were a mile away. This meant that we could go outside the house without wearing a mask or worrying about contracting the coronavirus. They also had crops in the land and a barn full of food supply, so we practically never had to leave the place to buy anything. We would watch the news before dinner every night and hear those people complaining about being unable to breathe because of their masks, and we could not relate because we never had to do that on the farm.
Despite that, when the news about COVID-19 vaccines being formulated broke out, my parents and I were all for it. We were safe from a viral infection, but we could not stay there forever. After all, once the vaccination process started, it might not take long before the company would call me back to the office since the global health threat would be controlled by then. As for my parents, even if they had everything they might need on the farm and more, they would have to go out and sell livestock elsewhere to keep generating money. If none of us took the vaccine, we would have a much higher chance of getting infected.
Learning About Others’ Opinions
Once my parents and I got our first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I thought of calling my roommate. We were friends, but since I got too busy with farm life, I did not talk to her as much as I promised to do before we parted ways. She picked up my call at once, and we chatted about all of her escapades ever since going back home.
Unlike my family, my roommate lived in Miami, Florida. Not only did it have the best weather, but it also served as home for a lot of party animals. She disclosed that she had been to at least five home parties just this month.
“Oh, that’s what I miss!” I exclaimed. “Once I get my second dose of vaccine, I would fly to Miami, and you can take me to all the parties you get invited to.”
“Oh,” my roommate said. “My parents don’t want to get vaccinated because of all the news about some people dying immediately after getting the vaccine. Even if I do not believe that it happens to everyone, they’re forbidding me to get the vaccine as well.”
All I could reply in that instant was, “Everyone can hold on to their opinions.” I was aware of some people’s opposition to vaccines. I also believe that the human body can react negatively to it, and that can cause people to die. However, the chance of that happening was one in a million, and I did not expect to personally know anyone who firmly believed they had an extremely high chance of dying due to the vaccine.
My mother, who was a retired counselor, walked in on me looking baffled.
“What’s wrong, honey?” she asked.
“Well, I had a mind-boggling conversation with my former roommate. Her parents refused to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination,” I said.
“They worry about dying because of the vaccine. They did not think of the higher possibility of them contracting the virus and dying because of it. Should I call my friend again and tell her that?” I asked.
My mother smiled. “Of course, you can do that. But you should also know that you can’t force others to follow your lead. But if I were them, it’s better to think of it in a positive light. Instead of thinking of becoming one in a million, they should believe that they will be among the 999,999 people who will survive the vaccination.”
That was thoughtful advice that I shared with my friend. She discussed it at length with her parents, and I got a text two days later that they were on their way to the nearest vaccination center. The process went even better than they expected, considering neither my friend nor her parents got a fever or any side effect post-vaccination.
If you still doubt whether you should get vaccinated or not, think of what my mom said.