Earlier this year, I would have said no to a COVID vaccine. All my information was coming from social media. Then the NorWest Co-op community health clinic had an information session about vaccine awareness, with a nurse who did a Q&A session. Everyone there was able to freely ask questions about the things they had been hearing from Facebook and other social media. Attending that information session changed my mind. From then on I became an ‘encourager,’ reminding people to keep looking for credible information about vaccines. When you take the time to seek out the knowledge, you’re truly informed, and you get your questions answered, then you can freely make an informed decision.
I live in an area of Winnipeg with a lot of COVID cases. So when my friend informed me that we were suddenly eligible, I immediately called and booked appointments for my husband, my sister and me. We had to wait about two weeks to get an appointment at the new Super-Site clinic at the Winnipeg Soccer Federation North at Leila. I’m very excited and looking forward to getting the shot.
I work as a neighbourhood immigrant settlement coordinator, to help newcomers access the many services offered by the Immigrant Centre. As a community volunteer, I post relevant information on a Facebook group called Newcomer Coffee Club to help people feel less isolated, and become informed and connected. My friends and I also created Kamustahan Nights, meaning “How are you” in Filipino or Tagalog, as a talk show on Facebook that lets people share their experiences, and includes fun things like raffle draws for chocolates.
Within our household, I have three kids, my husband, my parents-in-law and my sister. I’m blessed because we’re all together in one house and I don’t feel isolated. But at the same time, our house includes everyone from a three-year-old baby to seniors, so we have to be extra careful to avoid bringing the virus home. We are also keeping our faith and praying for everyone’s health and safety.
Nobody can force you to take the vaccine. If you have hesitations, find the right person to ask questions. At the end of the day, you can decide for yourself, with valued, credible information. Not just social media–that was my mistake in the beginning. My dad always said: ask questions, don’t be shy, and you’ll never be lost. That’s what I would say to people who are hesitant: don’t be shy to ask questions, and reach out for resources and support.
By being vaccinated, I am contributing to a bigger change. Every small step we take can contribute to that bigger change.
In the future, when it is safe, I would like to go back to the Philippines for a visit. My grandmother turned 95 last November, and we had promised to come celebrate her birthday. She’s sad, but she understands what happened. I want to be there in person for her birthday when it’s safe for all of us.