Arm Yourself: Chelsea’s COVID-19 Story
A message from Chelsea Manzone, Nurse Practitioner at Southcoast Health Urgent Care, Fairhaven, on how to arm yourself against COVID-19:
Three weeks after returning from maternity leave as a first-time mother, I found myself on the frontlines of a global pandemic. The world shut down, but the doors to our urgent care center remained open. It was a terrifying time. We had to manage with minimal PPE and a rampant, unknown virus. My husband, four-month-old daughter, and I secluded ourselves as much as we could. Our child was our highest priority. We worried about me bringing the virus home, and if I would be the one to infect us, our parents, and our families.
When the vaccine was released, I was hesitant. Like many others, I had concerns – not only regarding the potential side effects, both short and long term, but also, I was a breastfeeding mother. I cautiously questioned, could this vaccine affect my baby?
After thorough discussions with my obstetrician (OB) and my child’s pediatrician, I decided to get vaccinated.
As a member of one of the first qualifying groups, I received my first dose in December and continued to breastfeed my daughter, providing her with what I like to call “liquid gold.” My breast milk provided her just the right nourishment and protection to afford her a healthy start. As a result, she is happy, thriving, and healthy!
According to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), it is recommended that ALL eligible pregnant and lactating individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection via antibodies and COVID-related complications for both you and your baby.
The FDA has granted the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine full approval in ages 16 and older. Clinical trials have been completed and millions of doses of these vaccines have already been delivered safely to individuals across the world. There were no safety protocols skipped in the making of these vaccines.
Getting funding for clinical trial set-up and publications, which usually requires a great deal of time in the development of vaccines, was not an issue for the COVID-19 vaccines because there was massive public funding available, allowing scientists to move quickly.
The development of theses vaccines was not rushed. Scientists did not start from scratch at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much research on mRNA technology and vaccines for similar respiratory viruses has been conducted over the past decade.
COVID-19 does not discriminate
Working in the urgent care setting, we witness firsthand the complications this disease can cause post-infection. There are a handful of individuals in their twenties, thirties and forties who were “young and healthy” before getting COVID-19. Now, they have to be on life-sustaining medications, oxygen therapy, and some have even passed away suddenly. The truth is no one knows how this disease will affect YOU in the short or long term.
With over 174 million people fully vaccinated in the US, the COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to prevent severe disease and hospitalizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but it also protects others, especially those who do not yet qualify for the vaccine – our children who are younger than 12 years of age.
Now is the time. With the emergence of the much more contagious delta variant, we have seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Although there have been some breakthrough cases with vaccinated individuals, those individuals are experiencing milder symptoms than those who are unvaccinated.
Now more than ever it is critical that you arm yourself and get vaccinated.
With science of the vaccines and with the aid of masking, hand washing, and social distancing, we will not only be able to continue to keep our businesses and schools open, but most importantly, SAVE THE LIVES OF OUR LOVED ONES, including those too young to be vaccinated themselves.
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 www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccination 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 www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations.