I’m a Black Writer Living with Multiple Sclerosis, Here’s Why I Chose to Get Vaccinated #InformUniteHeal

There’s so much confusion and division surrounding coronavirus vaccinations that I felt obligated to share my experience – with the hopes that anyone reading that finds themselves in a similar situation will find a common thread and consider vaccinating as an option.

If you follow MusicMoviesThoughts, you know I live with Multiple Sclerosis, so my biggest concern is being exposed and contracting the coronavirus as an immunocompromised individual. Watching healthy persons without chronic conditions fall victim to the disease was and is still a source of anxiety, and impacts my daily living as far as precautions – remaining vigilant about social distancing, not attending large gatherings or public places during peak hours or capacity, definitely wearing a mask (sometimes double) in public, and being mindful about my home environment and who enters.

As an entertainment writer, that has included the amount of non-virtual press screenings or events I attend – I missed a doozy featuring Wyclef, Ne-Yo and the legendary Mavis Staples here in my hometown of Philadelphia last weekend – and just hanging out and networking with other persons in the field.

The pandemic has also impacted the amount of time I casually spend with family and friends. Yet, getting the Pfizer vaccination back in March of 2021 has given me more confidence to interact, even with the aforementioned precautions.

Being vaccinated means I’m more secure visiting my nephew, who has been in a pediatric ICU since March 5th of this year, without having a significant worry of spreading or contracting the virus. It has also meant that I could brave going to press screenings – even while making the choice not to attend crowded general screenings due to less distancing.

I’ve also enjoyed dining in restaurants at non-peak hours, albeit I am still practicing social distancing by requesting a far-removed table or only dining when there are few patrons.

The most disheartening thing by far, even with the vaccination, has been the at least four funerals I have opted not to attend, watching two online, that included an aunt (Susan), uncle (James) and a very dear friend (Marla) who was the eldest sister of my oldest, late friend Shelice.

Nothing replaces being able to pay final respects in person, but the fact that I am alive to celebrate their memory – due in great part to the precautionary diligence and the vaccine – is something I don’t take lightly or for granted.

Each person must decide what is best for them but, as the coronavirus is impacting our communities as a whole, I encourage everyone to take the following precautions at the very least:

And most importantly, remember this is an “us” not an “I” problem.

You can find additional resources, including a Coronavirus Self Checker, at the National Black Cultural Information Trust website here.

Inform. Unite. Heal.

And remain vigilant MMT Family.

Until next thought, Thomasena

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