This post was written by Megan DiBenedetto. She is 28 with cystic fibrosis from the New York City area and is a practicing nurse at NYU Langone Health.
I’m 28 years old with cystic fibrosis and I’m a bone marrow transplant nurse for NYU Langone Health, a New York City area hospital system. I received my first Pfizer vaccine last week on December 23rd and I look forward to receiving my second dose on January 14th.
I got the vaccine because my hospital was first giving them out to patient-facing COVID-19 units then immunocompromised units, so my floor was second in line. To be quite honest I didn’t know if I wanted to receive the vaccine as soon as it came out. Because of my underlying CF, no one really knew how I and other patients would react to it. I originally wanted to wait until it was offered to high-risk patients because, like most others, I had some doubts.
I also faced an internal dilemma. I felt my place in the line should be alongside other people who have CF, and not with other nurses. I didn’t want to cut that part of the line, but my doctor said, “Why wait? You’re a nurse working during COVID and they are offering it first to medical personnel.” My doctor wanted me to build immunity to COVID-19 as soon as possible since I have been working this whole time. Even after follow on conversations with my doctors and my family, I did still have a little bit of uncertainty. But I asked myself, “I have CF, I’m a nurse, should I wait and hope I don’t get COVID or get the vaccine and hopefully become immune as soon as possible?”
I was convinced. I had to do it.
My hospital did not force us to take the vaccine. It was voluntary. We had the option to refuse it we wanted, but I decided to get the vaccine because as a nurse I also knew the horrible effects of COVID-19 were a lot worse than the uncertainty of the vaccine. As a nurse and especially after the FDA approved Trikafta so quickly, I trusted the science and I trusted my doctors. I’ve also witnessed way too much these last few months to refuse what could be a miracle.
I didn’t feel too many side effects after dosing, just some generalized body aches and a slight headache that went away the next day. My arm was sore for a little more then 24 hours but I took some Tylenol and I was fine.
I feel a little relief now that I received the vaccine. Not only because I am considered high risk, but also because working during COVID has been crazy. It’s nice to have a better vibe at work because now, and unlike before, there’s hope!
No one truly understands how that feels unless they were in front row seat to this pandemic, and sadly I had that seat.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the vaccine, but I hope people are reading true information about it and make their decision that way and not by all the fake information social media puts out.
Even if I didn’t have CF I would still get this vaccine because it’s not just about us, it’s about our family and our friends, and the desperate desire to try and go back to normal as much as possible.