The vaccine converts: Why they changed their minds about the COVID-19 shot

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Canada is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 86.57 percent of the eligible population having received at least one dose as of October 2. But reassuring the holdouts is the goal of public health officials, who say vaccination is our best way to end the pandemic.

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It’s important to understand that very few people fall into the anti-tax camp, said Dr. Jia Hu, a former medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services and a physician with 19 to Zero, who works to expand the vaccine across Canada. There is a campaign for

Generally three factors drive people to get vaccinated, he said. “One is how worried people are about COVID,” he said. “The second is what I call a general belief in vaccines.” The third is how accessible the vaccine is.


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But now there’s a fourth: the passport. His introduction across the country resulted in “moving across the board,” Dr. Hu said. “The vast majority are doing this so they can fly or go to restaurants.”

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The Granthshala reached out to the vaccine holdouts to learn that they finally changed their mind. Their reasons vary, but as long as people get vaccinated, it doesn’t matter why, Dr. Hu said.

Name: Caroline Hartley

Ages: 55

City: Olds, Alta.

Date of first dose: September 20

Caroline Hartley didn’t know what to believe. She heard the good news about the COVID-19 vaccine, and the research backed getting it, from the AM radio station she loved listening to while driving, but her Facebook feed was filled with a multitude of other information that cast doubt on its effectiveness. used to produce

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Her husband had high blood pressure and diabetes, the latter of which had put him in a coma 14 years earlier, and at their regular beer-and-wings meetup in Olds, Alta., her friends argued that those conditions made her high. level was placed. Risk for an adverse outcome if he has been vaccinated. In fact, those conditions put them at a higher risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.

His “crazy redneck friends” sat around the bar sharing all sorts of nonsense, Ms Hartley said, now with a clear understanding of what information to trust.

Ms Hartley, who voted for Jason Kenny’s United Conservative Party, became concerned and furious over the impact of the premier’s decision to lift pandemic restrictions over the summer as the virus spread like wildfire and forced the health care system to lose its ground. pushed to the brink. . But even so, she and her husband remain “fence-sitters” when it comes to vaccinations.

In late September, five days after her province announced that it would launch a proof of vaccination program, Ms Hartley received her first dose – and she received some criticism from friends for it.

Half of her motivation, she said, was worrying that she wouldn’t be able to go to New Brunswick to visit her mom without a full vaccination. The other was that she feared she might lose her job. The company she works for installs security systems in downtown Calgary condos, and property managers were saying they wouldn’t allow employees to enter if they didn’t get vaccinated.

“It’s my favorite job ever and when you’re 55, trust me, you can’t get a job anywhere else,” she said.

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On a recent night out for beer and wings, Ms Hartley and her husband (who also received their first dose) discovered that the friends they were with – who were strongly opposed to vaccination – had fraudulently used vaccine passports. were using.

One asked her, “Does it bother you that I don’t have a vaccine?”

“No,” he replied, “but you can stay at least 10 feet away from me because the last thing I want is… different.”

-Dakshina Baskarmurthy

Name: Harbinder Singh

Ages: 27

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City: roof, BC

Date of first dose: September 8

During the summer, there were moments of tension when passengers would climb into the back of Harbinder Singh’s taxi to ask if he had been vaccinated.

He used to say “not now” and hoped that the mask he wore and the Plexiglas screen that separated him from his passengers would be enough to assuage his concerns. and northwestern BC. At City Terrace, where he lives, they might be waiting a while for another ride.

When vaccines were first approved in Canada in late 2020, Mr Singh, 27, was not opposed to getting one, but his family and friends – both here and in Patiala, from the north Indian city – gave their change changed. Mind.

He now identifies what they shared with him as misinformation or “fake news” about the danger of COVID-19 and the risks of vaccination.

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Earlier this year, two distant relatives in India were diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised. While in hospital, he was given the vaccine, Mr Singh said, and died a few days later. While doctors said the deaths were from COVID-19 (and underlying conditions put them at risk for a more serious outcome), Mr Singh’s family refused to believe this and blamed the vaccine.

A few weeks ago, however, Mr. Singh had a change of heart.

Knowing in early September that his province was offering a vaccine passport – that he would not be able to go to banks or restaurants without showing evidence – served as a strong motivation.

He also travels to India every year or two and realizes that he has to show proof of vaccination to go home. (His family back home recently vaccinated is also driven by his desire to travel.)

But what really impressed Mr. Singh was talking to a good friend of his, a fellow taxi driver, who had recently got his shot.

“He said it was normal… nothing to worry about,” Mr Singh said. “They said it’s good for safety for me and my client as well.”

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He downloaded his proof of vaccination card shortly after receiving his first dose on 8 September.

“Now if a customer asks me, I show it,” he said.

-Dakshina Baskarmurthy

Name: Fadhwa Yusuf

Ages: 45

City: Kitchener, Ontario

Date of first dose: September 14

After months of going back and forth over the decision, Fadhwa Yusuf finally got his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine in the fall. The 45-year-old from Kitchener, Ontario, said it was her work in the hospitality sector that tipped the scales. Ms. Yusuf is a front-desk manager, which means she regularly interacts with people.

She said that social isolation was a big factor behind her decision. “I felt a separation within the separation. You can’t go places, you can’t have that connection with your friends and you can’t take your kids anywhere. You are the one who has been left behind. So that pressure finally dawned on me. “

Ms Yusuf said she had been hesitant for a long time because she felt she did not have all the information. “I was just afraid of what it would do to me and my health. I just wanted to make a very good, informed decision. In the end, I had to feel comfortable enough to do it. I didn’t want to do it under fear or pressure. I really had to be prepared.”

Because of her 18-year-old daughter, who persuaded Ms. Yusuf to get vaccinated, her initial hesitation was overcome. Seeing his daughter reacting well to the shot gave him confidence. “She played a huge role in helping me make this informed decision. When I finally got it, she was overjoyed. “

Apart from arm pain and mild fatigue, Ms Yusuf did not feel any adverse side effects. She is now waiting for her second dose, which she may get by October. “Each of us has a role to play in keeping not only our families, but our communities safe,” she said.

-Uday Rana

Name: Irene Bruculeri

Ages: 56

City: hamilton

Date of first dose: July 1

Despite the terrible toll that COVID-19 has taken, Irene Brucculeri didn’t take the virus very seriously at first. In his mind, it was just another flu. It will come and it will go, just like everything else. She realized that she had a strong immune system and didn’t worry about getting the virus herself. “I wasn’t afraid of it at all,” she recalled.

She worried about what would happen if she got vaccinated. He had heard conspiracy theories about a covert conspiracy to install transmitters in people and use mass vaccination to follow their movements. He is ashamed to admit it, but he found the idea plausible. Wasn’t the internet giant already following her likes online and pitching her ads? “Obviously someone is watching.”

Then, this spring, some of his friends got the disease. She knows that one woman’s case was so bad that she was on the verge of going to the hospital. Ms Bruculeri began to read more about COVID-19 in the press.

“I began to realize: I am an idiot.” Even if she has a strong immune system, she can still pass the disease on to someone else. “If I did that, I couldn’t live with myself.” Now he has no patience for vaccination holdouts, “sticking his heels into the ground and shouting for freedom.” Given that we now know how safe and effective vaccines are, “I find it very, very selfish.”

-Marcus Gee

Name: Jeff McLeod

Ages: 45

City: Renfrew, Ont.

Date of first dose: September 8

Jeff McLeod’s wife and their two teenage children were vaccinated earlier this year, but he was reluctant to get the jab. “I was in no hurry to do that,” said Mr McLeod, who runs the HVAC company. “I really didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to jump into. It’s so new.”

But as vaccine passports appeared on the horizon, some of McLeod’s biggest clients, including a hospital and senior citizens’ homes, sent him letters informing him that he would not be allowed entry without proof of vaccination until 22 September. Will go They felt that they had no choice.

“It was taking food off my table, so I had to take it…


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