Lim: Jab effects

Melanie T. Lim
·3 min read

TO ADDRESS fears and to quell further vaccine hesitancy, we held a Covid-19 vaccination orientation for our employees. The vaccination drive had been going well but a few people began to hear tall tales about people dying after getting jabs.

One person decides not to get the jab. Another person says, well, me too. And this is how we never get to end this pandemic — when we ignore science and logic and listen to myths and conspiracies.

Fear is normal. But reality often pales against imagination. If you’re like me — not as intrepid as I would like to be — I know you get me. Planning to jump off the cliff in Nepal to paraglide was a lot more terrifying than actually doing it.

The vaccine hasn’t killed anyone. People have died after getting the jab. Yes. But they died from underlying medical conditions. A great majority actually live to smile and take selfies after the jab.

I don’t love needles but they don’t terrify me. I’ve gotten so many jabs in my adult life; some I get annually. At the most, I feel pain at the injection site. Nothing remotely debilitating.

I’m always concerned about possible allergic reactions. I have a long history of allergies — most of which manifest on my skin. I had an auto-immune episode 20 years ago which is why I’m always vigilant against substances that can serve as triggers.

No action we take in life is without risk. Stepping out of our homes entails risk. We could trip. We could get run over. We could get stabbed. We could get shot. But what are the odds?

Getting on a plane entails risk. But that hasn’t stopped millions of people from flying. Getting on a vehicle entails risk. But people do it every day. And yet, the odds of dying on the road or in the sky are so much greater than dying after a jab.

Our brains perform a risk-benefit analysis at every waking moment. Though, for many tasks, they are on autopilot. This is how we survive. This is how we live. And this is how we end this pandemic.

The jab doesn’t come without risk. But the benefits far outweigh the risks. With mass vaccination, we stop the virus in its tracks when it can no longer find a host to infect.

My first jab went well. Just a bit of drama before discharge. Refusing to accept an oxygen saturation level of 90 and knitting my eyebrows at a second reading of 83, I insisted I was a victim of an offending oximeter. I wasn’t tripping on happy hypoxia.

I settled for a reading of 98 on a new oximeter.

Some medications leave me with an unsettling side effect. I lose the capacity to curate myself. The real me comes out. After the Covid-19 jab, I started co-managing. It’s seriously a very annoying side effect to experience if you’re a medical practitioner attending to me.