Leanne, we're all sitting on the edge of our seats and hoping these vaccines are the answer to our prayers. Congratulations! You're one of the first people we know who has received this vaccine. How does it feel being a pioneer?
Thank you Josette. I feel very thankful to have received the vaccine so early! It is the best Christmas present ever!
Tell us about the actual event? Which vaccine did you get? Did you have any response to the injection?
I received my first dose of the Pfizer- BioNTech Covid 19 vaccine this morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital, here in eastern Pennsylvania. So far no reaction at all!
I was extremely fortunate to receive this vaccine through an umbrella policy with the dental office where I work. The dentist is a long time volunteer in the hospital's dental clinic, so thankfully the hospital offered the vaccine to the dentists and their staff who volunteer there.
Like many of us, you probably started out with a few reservations on whether or not you'd take the vaccine. Can you tell us how you made that decision?
I started the process by consulting with my Uveitis specialist, and then my family doctor and rheumatologist. I am currently taking low dose Prednisone and Humira, so I wanted to confirm that it was safe to take.
After all 3 doctors gave me the green light, I further researched information on the CDC website. Although the trials of these vaccines did not include people who are immunosuppressed, the CDC recommended first talking with my doctors and then, if approved by them, taking the vaccine when it became available .
What inspired you to go for it?
First, honestly, it was a gift! When my boss emailed all of us about the opportunity to receive the vaccine very early, I immediately said I was in! Also I wanted to be an example to people with Birdshot and other autoimmune diseases.
My Uveitis specialist also encouraged me to get the vaccine. I felt confident about it all, but I have to admit I was a little nervous when I was sitting at the hospital clinic waiting the 15 minutes after the injection. Thankfully everyone there was ok! They did have epi pens on hand, out of an abundance of caution.
What's been the hardest part of the quarantine for you?
The most difficult part of quarantine is not seeing loved ones. I have a dear niece who is very ill and we cannot visit her.
Also our daughter is in Germany and we have no idea when we will be able to see her again. But we will get through this! (See pic of Leanne and Dan's daughter, Marissa, and her cat, Grey! Leanne is watching Grey while Marissa is away.)
Now that you've had the vaccine, will you be making any plans in the near future?
I still need to be careful, even after I receive the second dose. But I will feel more confident visiting my parents more often, and I'll be able to go back to my job as a dental hygienist. Hopefully when my husband gets the vaccine we can see our daughter!
Do you have any words of wisdom for the rest of us?
When the vaccine becomes available to you, and if your doctor approves your taking it, just do it! We will hopefully get past this pandemic in the new year!!
Thanks for sharing with us today, Leanne! Here's hoping the new year brings some normalcy for all of us, and may it be especially happy for you and your family!