“For me, it was never a question of whether to get it, but when I can get it.”

When the coronavirus vaccine became available, caregiver Mick LeClaire never questioned whether or not to get it. It was merely a matter of how soon he could do so. Being at high risk for COVID left this Moscow, Idaho resident living in fear for the last 18 months. The decision to get the vaccine was a matter of personal health and security, with the added bonus of feeling more confident to “get back out there and do things again”. He was very eager to get the vaccine and he is grateful for the opportunity to be vaccinated.

“It’s nice to have that measure of security for my own health,” Mick said. Not only that, but he knows many other people who are immunocompromised, namely his home care clients, who are inherently affected by his actions during this public health crisis. Now, he doesn’t feel nearly as nervous to visit nearby towns, who have more lax mask requirements, or reconnect with family members who have also been vaccinated. He’s even very excited to have a close friend, who he hasn’t seen in well over a year, coming to visit now that they’re both vaccinated.

Logistically, getting the vaccine was very easy. Despite being late for his appointment, due to having to return home for his documents, the folks at the site were extremely accommodating. The atmosphere of the WSU mass-vaccination site, which is not far from his Palouse branch, was one of efficiency and business. To Mick, it seemed that everyone acted as if they were simply running an errand. There was no drama or big to-do, nor did anyone have immediate adverse responses during their 15-minute waiting period. And, he shared, it was reassuringly busy.

Prior to getting the vaccine, Mick had heard the many arguments challenging its efficacy, and some peoples’ anxiety about the expedited nature of its rollout. All the controversy prompted him to do some research on his own. His research included speaking to a doctor friend, who’d been involved in the AstraZeneca trials. All of his findings were unquestionably positive towards the safety of the vaccine.

While confident that getting the vaccine was worth it, Mick was still a bit nervous about the potential side effects. As luck would have it, he experienced no side effects other than soreness and inflammation around the injection site. He attributed the soreness to not relaxing his arm during the first injection, which he rectified during the second dose.

Now, after being fully vaccinated for several months, Mick feels significantly less anxious about returning to the outside world. He is still cautious about mask-wearing since vaccinated people may be able to still infect the immunocompromised or those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons including his home care clients. In fact, he’s fine with continuing to wear a mask since it’s been very effective against contracting the flu, and he hasn’t been sick all year. The anxiety of easing back into interactions with family and friends, he says, tends to fade quickly while basking in the enjoyment of reuniting with people again. All in all, for caregiver Mick he affirms with conviction that he has “no regrets whatsoever”.