I am not an anti-vaxxer, in fact when the government announced that everyone above the age of 18 years was eligible for vaccination, I was elated. What I didn't realise was that my anxiety about stepping out and getting to the vaccine centre, would make this process, a lot harder.
The minute the government opened vaccination for 18+, I was on the Co-win app trying to book a slot. I also made sure all my friends and family members were also on the app, trying for a slot. But after days of trying, I failed to get a slot. Enter my messiah and friend. She was not eligible to get vaccinated, but had FOMO about missing out on playing fastest finger first on the app. And she managed to get me a slot, the very next day. And while I was elated, I realised my anxiety needed more than a 24 hour notice to be emotionally read to venture outside.
Anxiety = Months of Social Isolation + Genuine Fear of Contracting the Virus
My anxiety stemmed not from the fear of vaccine, but from the fact that I hadn't stepped out of my house for months, and also, the fear of contracting the virus from the slightest exposure to anyone. And my spiralling anxiety took me down a rabbit hole of irrational fears, as I made my way to the vaccination centre. The list featured questions, such as -
1. What if I step out and bring the virus home?
2. What if vaccines are out of stock by the time I reach the centre?
3. What if the place is crowded and nobody maintains social distancing?
4. What if I get a reaction after getting the dose?
5.And the worst? What if I don't get a cab back home?
Thankfully, the vaccination centre was not crowded at all, and my turn to get the vaccine came in no time. The doctor told me that the medication I was already on would not pose a problem, and before I knew it, I was vaccinated. The doctor informed me that I could feel a few side-effects of the vaccine over the next few days, and that was completely normal. I already knew this, but hearing from a professional made me calmer. And as I waited under observation, I felt all my anxiety floating away.
Over the next few days, I did develop symptoms, but they lasted less than a week, and I was back to my normal life in no time. And while I am better prepared and less anxious for my second shot, this whole journey made me realise that I am privileged, from having access to a smartphone and information about the vaccine. There are many that don't, and that alienates them from the vaccination process.
So, here's how we can help those who don't have easy access:
1. You can book a slot for those who don't have access to the technology
2. Encourage those who help you such as domestic helpers and security guards to get vaccinated
3. Offer to book the slot and take them to the vaccine centre
4. Encourage your family and friends to extend the same help
We are all fighting this fight together, so let's try and help each other as much as we can. Meanwhile, remember to be grateful for all you have, I know I am. And support Covid-19 relief work as much as you can.