Arm Yourself: Brian Bonenfant’s COVID-19 Story

A message from Brian Bonenfant, MPH, PA-C, from the Urgent Care Centers at Southcoast Health, on how to arm yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19:

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic it was all too common for patients to arrive in the urgent care center desperately short of breath, what we quickly realized was one of the hallmarks of advanced COVID-19. It is a terrible experience to struggle to breathe. 

In those early months, there was no clear treatment regimen for COVID-19 and, sadly, many of those first patients with severe symptoms did not make it out of the hospital despite our best efforts. I will carry with me forever the fear and desperation I saw in their eyes. 

Throughout the past two years, COVID-19 has cut an indiscriminate swath across our society. We’ve all lost family and friends who might be with us today had the vaccine and better treatments been available sooner.

As we continue to face this ongoing pandemic, there is no way to predict who will get seriously ill from COVID-19. Even young and healthy people can become very sick. Equally as important is that even if you are not too ill from COVID-19, you are still contagious while ill and could transmit the virus to someone else who might die as a result of the infection.

Vaccination for COVID-19 has proven to be our best defense to prevent severe illness and reduce virus transmission. For the vast majority of patients, the risk-benefit ratio clearly favors getting the vaccine. The science of mRNA vaccination is well tested, safe, and certainly less risky than taking the chance that you will be able to successfully fight off COVID-19.

I’ve seen the same fear in the eyes of unvaccinated patients when they are suffering from COVID-19 and struggling to breathe. They tell their loved ones they wish they had gotten vaccinated. It’s a needless tragedy. Research has shown that even natural immunity can wane over time, thus the importance of receiving the vaccine and recommended boosters to have the best defenses possible.

Most people who get vaccinated experience minimal symptoms, including tenderness and redness at the injection site that lasts for a few days. I’m reasonably certain that 100 percent of the people who died from COVID would have gladly endured this if it meant a chance at living.   

Now, as our community is seeing a decrease in the number of positive cases, it is still important to get vaccinated against COVID-19. All the variants are still in the population and the vaccines are the best way to protect oneself and loved ones.

Why take a chance with your life and the lives of others around you? Do your part. Get vaccinated today and help save lives!


We are at a crucial moment in human history and our actions today will help shape the future for so many. Arm yourself with the facts to make an informed decision.

Visit to find upcoming vaccination opportunities at Southcoast Health, and please speak to your medical provider if you have questions or concerns. You can also find other places to get vaccinated at