Carmen James-Henry at the Scarborough COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Centenary hospital

Why this Scarborough local wants you to get your COVID-19 vaccine

With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming more widely available in Scarborough, now is the time to decide if you will get the vaccine.

Uncertainty is normal and people have varying – and legitimate – reasons for feeling this way. Be sure to visit www.shn.ca/covid19-vaccine-info/ for information and resources to help you make an informed choice.

In the meantime, take it from Carmen James-Henry, a North Scarborough local who feels passionately about getting vaccinated and encourages her neighbours and community members to roll up their sleeves!

  1. What has the last year been like for you? How do you like to pass the time during lockdowns?
    Crazy is best way to say it!

I feel a lot of disappointment about the pandemic having dragged out for so long and that we are now worse than we were this time last year. I’m disappointed that people continue to not follow guidelines from the Province. Everyone seems worried about opening up to protect the economy. But what’s the point in an economy if you don’t have a society to worry about it? Health first, then politics.

I volunteer at Tropicana Community Services here in Scarborough and am very involved in my church, so I have meetings every day that keep me very busy. I also make calls to people to check in and see how they are doing, so I’m staying in touch with them even though I can’t be with them.

Recently, I have been working with my church to coordinate getting people signed up for vaccine appointments who have trouble doing so on their own. We also arrange for transportation to and from the vaccine appointments for those who need it.

 

  1. How was your experience at SHN’s Centennial College vaccine clinic?
    I have been twice. The first time was to bring my sister for her appointment and then a second time for myself. Both visits I was in and out in 30 minutes and it was a very positive experience. I even went home after my first appointment and emailed my Member of Parliament just to let them know how impressed I was.

As a former health care worker, I really commend the staff who I know have never experienced anything like this but doing a fantastic job making this all happen under difficult circumstances!

  1. Why do you feel getting the vaccine is so important?
    Vaccines have been an extremely important tool in managing public health concerns for a very long time, and although they are often not perfect, they have proven to be effective on the whole.

It is important to listen to the professionals in any field, but especially in health care. And the professionals are telling us that getting the vaccine will protect us and end the pandemic.

If there is something endangering your health and someone provides you with a solution – you take it.

 

  1. What would you tell someone who hasn’t quite made up their mind about getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
    The main concern that I hear from people is that they think this vaccine wasn’t developed properly and the process was rushed. What I always say in response is that vaccine development doesn’t start from scratch. The knowledge we already have from creating vaccines over the years is like having a soup broth, you have a base and then you can add different ingredients to that broth to make different kinds of soups.

I also remind people that the seasonal flu vaccine is new every year.

I want people who are thinking about not getting the vaccine to be grateful for the incredible global effort that has gone into creating a solution to the pandemic that will end the suffering it has created. People should show their respect and appreciation for this work.

I’d also like them to think about who else their choice (about whether or not to get the vaccine) is affecting.

Finally, I’d say: you’re not coming to my house if you don’t get it!

 

  1. What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?
    I love to travel and really miss it.

As soon as this is all over, I’m getting on the first flight to Florida to see my friends and family there, and then on to Jamaica where I have more friends and family that I can’t wait to be with again.