This is part of a series that shares 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?
For Bianca, a senior media development specialist at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, concern about COVID-19 began early on in 2020.
“I’ve had asthma since birth, so I was freaked out when COVID-19 started spreading,” she says. “I worry about anything respiratory-related.”
When the pandemic struck the U.S., Bianca had just moved into a new home, didn’t know any of her neighbors, and felt very isolated. But in one of those bad luck/good luck twists, she wound up with an unexpected roommate for several months.
“My sibling was in South Korea for a grad school program, but it shut down and they couldn’t return to Honduras due to travel restrictions,” Bianca says. “They stayed with me from July to December last year. They’re 12 years younger, so we got to know each other pretty well for the first time as adults. I was able to see them and the majority of my family members when they visited the U.S. this past summer, because travelling to Honduras remains extremely difficult. Honduras still has curfew, limits the amount of people in establishments, and masks are mandatory everywhere.”
Here’s what Bianca shared about her decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine and her overall experience.
How I decided to get a vaccine
When COVID-19 started happening, the first thing I thought of was swine flu. I was living in Honduras when that was spreading rapidly, and I remember hearing that many people who were passing away were younger and had asthma.
So this time I thought, “I’m going to be the first one to get this coronavirus, and it’s going to be terrible.” After hearing it could take 1-2 years to develop a vaccine, I was crushed. I didn’t think I’d be able to see my family in Honduras for who knows how long and was worried they might get sick.
But as soon as I heard that many wonderful people were donating their money for scientists to develop these vaccines, the research, and the trials, I was very happy. Knowing I was high risk, I was alone, and that many people were dying alone, I knew I would get a vaccine as soon as I could.
When I got my vaccine
Because of my asthma, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 9, and the second on April 1.
How I felt shortly after
After the first dose, I had a bit of pain at the administration site, some body aches and exhaustion that day, and just some lingering pain in the arm the next day.
I was worried about the second dose, because I heard many people say it was rougher on them. The only difference for me during the second dose was the administration site actually hurt, but I had zero side effects besides that.
How I feel now
I’ve had no long-term effects. I was concerned because I’m allergic to some components of the flu vaccine, but I was cleared to get a COVID-19 vaccine and have had my asthma under control the entire time.
Even with the Delta variant, I still wear a mask, I still social-distance, and I’m still taking all the precautions, because it’s still possible to have a breakthrough case of COVID-19. It’s worrisome that a lot of people here in Tennessee have given up on taking any of these precautions.
Everybody wants to go back to normal, but normal isn’t coming back anytime soon if we don’t get this under control. These vaccines are a measure to getting us there. I understand the hesitation some may have, but I’m not doing this for myself, I’m doing this for our community.
A lot of people think, “I’m getting vaccinated because I’ll get to do the things we did before,” but that’s going to take time. By getting vaccinated, we’re stopping the spread of this disease as well as saving lives.
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.