Let’s acknowledge something right off the top . . . it’s no secret that the COVID-19 vaccines are currently a very divisive issue in the United States. Although the vaccine debate has been around for just about as long as vaccines have existed, the impact of that debate during a pandemic has been particularly profound. Here at Autoimmune Wellness we take our responsibility as community leaders with a large public platform very seriously and have been thinking about steps we can take to help bridge this divide.
Step One: Validation
The first step is affirming the lived experience. Restoring our health and wellness despite autoimmune disease is a huge challenge. It makes sense then that maintaining our wins becomes paramount and doing that during a global viral outbreak has not been easy. We want to validate the uniquely demanding circumstances that the pandemic and vaccine decisions present for those of us with autoimmune disease. This is a worldwide event with far reaching consequences for everyone, but we want our community to know that we understand the extra stress this situation presents for those with autoimmune disease.
Step Two: Community Care For Hesitancy
The next step is providing personal context about the vaccine experiences of others in the autoimmune community. When we can relate to others it helps ease our concerns around any kind of decision, especially one so impactful to our health. We recognize that in the autoimmune community there may be some legitimate vaccine hesitancy due to the complexity of the chronic disease paths we are all navigating, so we are offering education, not alienation, as an act of community care.
Here’s what the vaccine experience has been like for seven of your fellow autoimmune warriors:
We hope this information is helpful for those in our community still making their vaccine decision. We’d also recommend checking out the episode archive and listening to an extensive series by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne on the Whole View podcast about the vaccine. And finally, we’d love to hear from you: has talking about this sensitive topic openly here on the Autoimmune Wellness site felt supportive to your autoimmune journey?
(Please be aware that while we invite thoughtful, respectful dialogue in asking for your feedback, comments on this article will be closely moderated. Abusive language, statements meant to instill fear rather than inform, and misinformation will not be tolerated.)