Support, Inc. is offering insight into the vaccination process as documented by our Director of People Operations. Read below to learn more about the vaccination process from Nick’s perspective as he received his first dose in the Denver Metro Area.
I am Nicholas Manning, the Director of People Operations at Support, Inc. I currently oversee our Human Resources Department, and have been with Support, Inc. since May of 2015. If you know me, you most likely have met me in my former role as an Associate Director in the Denver/Metro Area.
I would like to share my experience getting the COVID-19 vaccine with all of you. Now, you may or may not assume that this choice was easy for me, it was not.
I am a person of color and identify as a member of the Black community. I have always had concerns about vaccines due to generational trauma and a general desire to not go to the doctor for anything other than a medical emergency. From the infamous Tuskegee Experiment to the misrepresentation of the voices of POC on medical boards, etc., feeling comfortable being on the front line of receiving medical treatment is not something I feel terribly comfortable with.
However, I found it important for me to receive this vaccination , like no other time before.
Here is a bit about my journey.
Black, Hispanic, and Native American people are about 4 times more likely to be hospitalized and nearly 3 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white people. Yet African Americans have nearly the lowest rates of vaccination among any ethnic group. In fact, white Americans are being vaccinated at a rate 3 times higher than Black Americans. New CDC figures show that of those who have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, 5.4% are Black people, compared to 60% who are white people. According to recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, about 35% of Black Americans said they don’t plan to get the vaccine, citing fears about safety and concerns that the vaccines.
As I have stated, these concerns are rooted in distrust over time and I hope that my story can help provide insight on the vaccine from someone you can connect with personally, not simply a stat on a website. Additionally, I felt that being a person from my community who decided to receive the vaccine, I could share my experiences with others in hopes of supporting others regardless of whether or not they decided to also.
First, I utilized a link connecting me to Tri-County for an appointment. Now, this process has been frustrating, and many of us can understand how and why. There are a lot of people wanting it (about 80% of the adult population) and the system itself has not caught up to the demand. However, after some time and support I was able to access to an appointment. However, things came up, as they do with most of us so I had to change it. I was scared, and hoped that I would not lose the opportunity. I was successfully able to move my appointment to Wednesday 17th, 2021.
I was sent an email with clear directions. I was instructed to sit in my car and await a phone call before entering the Tri-County East Aurora location.
I received the call and was instructed to head inside. I was a bit nervous and also excited. I am hopeful this will protect me, the people I care for both at home and our Support, Inc. Community.
I headed in with my official leader from our CEO Bentley Smith, that is available to us.
I got to the doors and moved through the secure building. People inside were respectful as I checked in.
As I awaited for my appointment, I filled out a single page document. Questions we are used to as of now. Have I been exposed to COVID-19? Have I traveled outside of the United States in the last 14 days? Etc. I gave the desk clerk my paper and sat down. Within minutes I was asked to come back.
Alecia, a data collector and registered nurse was my Shot Giver for the day. Alecia sat me down and reviewed my form with me. She asked me about my experiences and educated me on how my answers mattered. She also provided me the attached PDF. She was transparent and discussed that the CDC wants to help us stay healthy as well as gain important information from us individual to track the success of the vaccine. She offered to answer any questions I had before she even prepared the shot. She stated that she wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with the information before moving forward. Alecia shared information about the trend of data to how effective I can expect the vaccine to be. Though early signs suggest the vaccine is effective, I was still encouraged to wear a mask following my second dose to ensure the safety of our community. She informed me that I was to remain in the waiting room for 15 minutes to ensure I do not have an allergic reaction. She also explained I would most likely feel some ache in my arm and the best way to ensure it was minimal was to use it and frequently. She informed me that Tylenol and Ibuprofen were fine to use even though some social media reports said otherwise.
She prepared my arm and I received the shot. It felt the same as most shots, no real pain outside of the assumed pinch. (I was not allowed to record the actual shot, I tried). I received my vaccine dose, thanked her for her time and headed to the waiting room. I waited 15 minutes and did not feel adverse effects so I stood up, got a drink from the vending machine and went home.
My arm ached about 48 hours after with some slight swelling (thought it was my muscles, but nope… just swelling). It has subsided in day 3. I have had no illness reactions as of now. No fever, no cough, no headache.
My experience may be unique. I also believe that many of us read so much on the internet that may influence us to be more or less willing to move forward and having a person who they can interact with share their experience may be more meaningful. I also understand that my privilege of not have any health risks, nor planning on being pregnant/breast feeding, is a benefit I have that many who may read this do not.
Currently, data does not show adverse risk to those who are pregnant or have moderate health risks as the information is still very new, but also remains positive to date.
If you have any personal or general questions about my experiences, please reach out to me directly at Nicholas.Manning@supportinc.com. I do not mind talking with you personally.