The soliloquy “to be or not to be” spoken by Shakespeare’s Hamlet describes how doubt and uncertainty can prevent us from doing anything by the agonized frustration of having to make a big decision while struggling with the fear of the unknown.

Vaccinations have been under scrutiny in recent years because of much misinformation, fear of the unknown and medical disenfranchisement by the public. This is unfortunate, as vaccines have prevented many life-threatening diseases such as smallpox, measles, chickenpox, polio, rubella, hepatitis A & B and tetanus, as well as many other vaccine preventable diseases. Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Even though the COVID vaccine was developed more quickly than other vaccines in the past, the pharmaceutical companies, Centers for Disease Control and the medical community have been extremely careful in testing and monitoring these vaccines. So far, none of the vaccines have reported any serious safety concerns, which is remarkable given that more than 100 million people have received the vaccine in the United States since January.

When seeking information, I ask that you research scientific, evidence-based and reliable sources when scouring the internet and social media sites for questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Do you want to travel this summer? Do you want to hug your family members and not worry about giving or getting the virus? Do you want our lives to return to normal again? Vaccinating means we can do all of this much sooner and more safely.

You alone can make the decision about whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine or not. In making this decision, however, I strongly encourage you to gather the information that you need to make an informed decision. Talk to your primary care doctor, review reliable resources, and read science-based, unbiased information so that you can make an informed decision for yourself, your family, your community and our nation.

Teri Williams

Norwood Public Schools nurse