Teachers, students, conspiracy theorists, and critical thinkers, how do you feel about the vaccine? Yes, you have several options, including Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, when considering this question. Pick one and think about your feelings and responsibilities as you read this blog post.
I teach at a medical school. While my colleagues with histories in the medical field are excited about the vaccines, I remain on the fence. Many have doctoral degrees related to the biological sciences, and I come from the field of education.
My wife and I received the Oxford Astra Zeneca vac on Sunday, but not without concerns for the potential long-term side effects.
I went to grad school to develop critical thinking skills about teaching and learning. Through my research and classroom experiences, I examined how identities influence educational opportunities. I explored how race, gender, sexuality, age, and other indicators impact school policies.
My academic background should help you understand how I identify the topics for my books. It should also give you some insight into how I think about the vaccine options. From the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments to the present medical disparities in communities of color, I have more than one reason to hesitate when it comes to vaccines.
My concerns involve safety and access. The speed of the vaccines’ arrival to market raises a red flag. Yes, the research teams claim that these vaccines took years to develop with multiple trials. But, we remain uncertain about the long-term side effects.
In places such as the Caribbean, the vaccines are free. India and Britain donated the Oxford, AstraZeneca version of the COVID vaccine to Antigua and Barbuda.
Do you have concerns about the quality of free products or services? I do.
The push for vaccination feels like an experiment, and I am not interested in enrolling in the study as a subject. When it comes to diseases and viruses, I put my full faith in The Creator, exercise, diet, and natural remedies. If it is my time to leave this planet, I have to accept it as part of a larger purpose.
Before you write-me-off as another angry anti-vac protestor with a premature death wish, remember I did get the AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday. Please keep reading to understand how and why I made the decision.
Three factors changed my mind – family, Kendrick Lamar, and peer pressure.
My roles as a husband and father supersede all of my titles. While the vaccines cannot prevent infection or transmission, they can minimize the severity of the symptoms. I know my immune system is strong enough to decrease the time necessary to produce antibodies and recover. The vaccine offers another layer of protection for my family.
If you’re not eligible to receive the vaccine yet, please use this time to prepare your mind and body. Consider the potential side effects. Eat well, rest, and get adequate exercise.
To maintain my health, one of the activities that I do is jog.
While out running last weekend, Kendrick Lamar’s song, Pray for Me, played on my headphones. In the song, he rhymes, “if I gotta be sacrificed for the greater good, then that's what it gotta be.” When I heard those lyrics, I said to myself that I must attend the appointment scheduled for the next day.
Kendrick Lamar's song convinced me that if taking the vaccine will put my life in danger but protect the life of someone else, the best choice is to get the shot.
As educators, we have the responsibility to create a safe environment for our students. This work requirement may include following health protocols that make us feel uncomfortable.
My coworkers must have received the message before me about looking outside their selves when deciding whether to take the vaccine. They believed in the power of medicine to curb the spread of the pandemic, while I needed some time to reflect and revaluate. While on campus this week, I listened to a heated conversation as one of the campus’s surgeons explained the significance of the science behind the vaccine.
I respect my colleagues as thinkers and educators and know they researched their options before signing up to receive Oxford’s AstraZeneca. Similar to me, they read articles and watched videos before making an informed decision. Due to their compliances, I felt compelled to get the injection.
As a school and nation, it appears that we are moving toward making the vaccine mandatory. My university has not released an official policy, but I know there is a conversation happening above my pay grade about how to ensure the safety of our campus. The government has not issued an order making the vaccines mandatory for residents and travelers, but I believe it’s on the horizon.
Each of us has to do our part to ensure the continual decline of coronavirus cases. At the time of this writing, the COVID vaccines offer one of the most potent remedies to reduce lethal outcomes.
If you’re still feeling uneasy about getting the vaccine, I understand. A simple Google search can help you find scientific articles on every aspect of the vaccines’ ingredients and their side effects.
Speaking of or rather writing about side effects. I did not experience the fevers, body chills, or other side effects that others report after the vaccine.
On the day I received the Oxford AstraZeneca vac, I drank an excessive amount of water and tea. I meditated, practiced yoga, and stayed prayerful of my body's ability to handle the changes in my body. The following morning, I went for a 7-mile run, practiced capoeira, and did my Monday morning strength training routine.
I write this post to get you thinking more about the vaccine options available in your country. You must do what feels right for you, your family, your students, and other members of your community.
In the spirit of great educators such as Marva Collins, who made multiple sacrifices throughout their careers to improve schools for underserved students, share this blog post with one teacher. I am not comparing my decision to get the vaccine to the legacy of Collins or others, but it's because they believed in teaching, learning, and the abilities of students from underserved communities that I do what I do.
Read more of my writings on teaching, learning, and masculinity in my latest book: Dear Brother: 82 Powerful Poems to Guide Your Journey to Healthy Black Masculinity.