When the government rolled out the COVID-19 vaccination program last spring, people were thrilled at the chance to protect themselves. But for Ketzel Levine, thrilled might be putting it mildly.
“I was apoplectic,” said Levine, curator of the Wonder Garden at the Hoffman Center for the Arts and former NPR correspondent. “I was so excited. It was a no brainer.”
Levine had zero doubts about the safety of the vaccine. Rather, she considered all the vaccinations she’s had over her life, including measles, small pox, polio and the flu shot she gets yearly. She’s also had numerous vaccinations required for travel to other countries.
“… I can’t think of any vaccination for anything in the United States of America that carried a higher risk than the illness itself,” Levine said. “I don’t have a reason to distrust a vaccination. In the past, when vaccines were on offer, you took your vaccine. I took the polio vaccine because I didn’t want polio. As a gardener, I have to have a tetanus vaccine. I guess I’ve had a lot of vaccines, but of all the things that are wrong with me, not one of them have to do with vaccines.”
After she was fully vaccinated, Levine celebrated by hugging other fully vaccinated friends. “That was the big ticket, being able to hug people again. And I took my mask off. I walked down the street without a mask.”
But only until she learned of the Delta variant. She knew the surge was coming, having seen the evidence in Europe. What surprised Levine was the stark reality of unvaccinated people getting sick with the Delta variant and vaccinated people largely staying healthy.
“People still think they can stay a step ahead of COVID. When I heard the Delta variant was coming, I also heard about the efficacy of the vaccine against the variant, so I wasn’t concerned. I have since become very concerned because of the number of people who think they can outrun the Coronavirus. I feel privileged to be vaccinated knowing that tens of thousands of my fellow human beings may yet still die for want of the vaccine.”
Vaccines are safe and the most effective way to protect us against serious illness and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Find more information and a vaccine site near you today by visiting our Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon web page.