By John Hoff, Midwest City, OK, Jefferson High School Class of 1985 in Alexandria

The Echo Press was very kind to run an article about how I volunteered to be one of the first to take the Pfizer vaccine ("Alex grad acts as 'lab rat' for vaccine tests," Nov. 4, 2020)

At the time the article was written, because I was in a double-blind scientific study, I had no way to know whether I had received "the real juice" or a placebo. I figured I had the real juice, because of mild side-effects, but I had no way to be positive. That was back in August of 2020 that I received those two shots.

But in March of this year, I learned I had, as I suspected, received the real vaccine. That makes me one of the first 20,000 people in the nation to be vaccinated, at least with Pfizer vaccine.

Ever since this January, I talk to people a lot about vaccine as part of sudden new duties helping out during this national emergency. Sometimes I end up sharing that I was vaccinated way back in August, had no side effects except a sore arm and slightly sore throat, maybe just a wee bit of body ache first thing in the morning, which quickly passed. So for almost a year, I have been just fine, even though I am forced to take all kinds of risks and come into contact with thousands of unvaccinated people. Yes, I wear a mask but that only goes so far. Clearly, my vaccination worked and I have gone a long time with no side-effects and no getting infected with COVID-19.

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Some folks, understandably, have taken a "wait and see" approach to getting vaccinated. Let me speak directly to those folks. I simply want to ask if you are actively seeking out information that will help you decide, or are you trying to avoid thinking about getting vaccinated and hoping this issue will just go away?

My dear old departed daddy was a wise man. Every year that goes by, I perceive more of his wisdom. When I was a little child, my daddy told me that when the school nurse comes around with shots, to just walk up and "get it over with." He told me that waiting and worrying was actually the worst part and the shot itself wasn't more painful than a mosquito bite.

"Put on a brave face," he would say. "March right up there in front of everybody, stick out your arm, and just get it over with."

Words to live by.