This is part of a series that will share real stories of people who have decided to get a COVID-19 vaccine – how did they decide, what was it like and how are they feeling now?
A volunteer with the Jasper Fire Department, Kerri Brewer knows the importance of listening to expertise from trained professionals. That importance carried over to her decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I hope all of us can go back to listening to the experts, the people whose passion in life is health care, when deciding whether or not to get a vaccine,” the BlueCross information solutions consultant says. “These scientists and medical professionals have worked their whole lives to take care of others, and they’re not going to steer you wrong.”
Here’s what Kerri shared about her decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine and her overall experience.
How I decided to get a vaccine
Due to my volunteering with the fire department, I qualified as a first responder. Right now I primarily work on their education and social media efforts, but if there’s a fire or a car accident, I’m often at the scene. I’ll soon take the 16-hour training class, in the event they need me to pull a hose or hook something up.
I’ve also been undergoing fertility treatment for the past year, so that was a major factor in my getting vaccinated. I emailed my doctor and asked, “What’s your opinion? Should I do it? Should I wait?” He said, “Absolutely get it, 100%. We’re starting to see long-term effects from COVID, and I’m more worried about that affecting your fertility than a vaccine.” That made me feel better.
When I got my vaccine
I actually received my first dose on Dec. 23rd. At first I felt a little guilty about it. I thought, “This should be going to an older or more at-risk person.” But all of the medical experts have said, “Take it when you can get it.” And as a younger person, I felt like I could withstand any potential side effects. I wanted to do it to be an example and have people see it was OK.
I got my second shot on Jan. 20. I was in the Marion County Health Department drive-through line, which was very quick, wearing my Dolly Parton mask. It was an emotional experience!
How I felt shortly after
In the moment, it was probably the least painful shot I’ve ever had. But my arm was sore that night, the sorest it’s ever been from a vaccine. But it went away within 24 hours. With the second dose, my arm was sore immediately — but again, it went away in 24 hours. I didn’t have any of the lingering side effects that others have experienced.
How I feel now
It’s been four months since I got vaccinated, and I’ve had no problems. I think these vaccines are our only chance for getting things back to normal. If we’re physically able and have accessibility, we need to get vaccinated so that we can all get back to work. People have lost their jobs, businesses have closed — this pandemic’s not just going to stop. This is our new reality, but getting vaccinated can at least get us to a version of what we were before. I see it happening.
Need more advice?
If you have questions or concerns about vaccines based on your health status, speak to a provider who knows your medical history. Your friends and family may have good intentions, but they may not know your body like you and your doctor, so it’s important to speak to a provider who knows you well.
If you do decide to go online to learn more about vaccines, do seek reputable sources like the CDC, FDA or World Health Organization (WHO). You can also visit BCBSTupdates.com to get the latest facts on and support for COVID-19 and vaccines, along with information on how we’re supporting our members and communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.
More COVID-19 vaccine stories from WellTuned
- My COVID-19 Vaccine Story: Jamie Pate
- My COVID-19 Vaccine Story: Dr. Bertram Prosser
- Andrea Willis: why I’m getting vaccinated as soon as I can
- COVID-19 vaccines: Q&A with four BlueCross medical directors
- Suzanne Corrington: COVID-19 side effects: what to expect + tips for care
- Suzanne Corrington: how effective are the COVID-19 vaccines + what does that mean?
- Chris Andershock: how immunity works + 4 ways to boost your immune system
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.