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Former Vaccine Skeptics Shared What Convinced Them To Get A COVID Shot, And It's Really Interesting

"Our doctor asked us if we wanted to stay in our house for 10 more years to see if people have reactions, or if we wanted to start living life again."

With US coronavirus cases surging almost 150% in the last two weeks due to the highly infectious Delta variant, public health officials are desperate to reverse lagging vaccination rates.

Emergency management coordinator administers the first dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The situation is particularly dire in under-vaccinated states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, where vaccine skepticism remains high even as hospitals fill up with unvaccinated COVID patients.

A anti-vaccine protester holding a placard saying, "Freedom not force"

The good news, however, is that some vaccine skeptics have changed their mind and gotten vaccinated against the coronavirus. Here's what convinced 20 of them to do just that.

1. "We wanted to wait and see if there would side effects because of how quickly it was released. But when our doctor asked us if we wanted to stay in our house for 10 more years to see if people have reactions, or if we wanted to start living life again, that did it."


2. "During quarantine, my grandpa ended up on this email thread with his brother and became convinced that the vaccine was poison. It shocked me that someone so intelligent could fall for something like that, so instead of yelling and screaming at him as was my first instinct, I very calmly asked him why he felt that way. He explained that he didn’t trust the science behind it because it came out too quick, etc. I then pointed out that science is the reason he still had a family. I explained that if it weren't for science, my older sister would have died from the cancer she beat a decade ago, I probably would have died from an asthma attack before I was 2, my grandmother would be long dead from her easily treatable heart condition, and at least three of my cousins wouldn’t exist without IVF. At that point, he realized I was right and got the shot four days later."


3. "I was scared of getting the shot because it hasn't been out that long, but when the virus mutated and the Delta variant surged, I started to worry for my health. Also, the story of patients begging for the vaccine as they are dying in the hospital pushed me to get vaccinated."


4. "My grandmother was very skeptical, afraid she'd have some kind of allergic reaction. However, I had a baby in January 2021 and told her I'd never let her around her great-grandson without a mask. That meant no kissing, nuzzles, or close snuggles and hugs. She's getting her first shot this week."


Nurse administers COVID-19 vaccine to a community health worker

5. "As a nursing mom, I was hesitant given the lack of data to review. To be comfortable, I initially wanted to see 10–20 years of data to rule out long-term effects of a new vaccine, but I realized that we’re not going to have that data for a long time, and I didn't want to wait 10–20 years to live my life. At the same time, I saw that many people were developing long COVID. Taking the vaccine at least puts me in control, as it’s my choice. I’ve never had any vaccines due to hippie parents, but I'm proud to say we all got vaccinated in April."


6. "My cousin and his wife were COVID deniers — no masks, no vaccine. They caught COVID last month. After almost two weeks on life support, she passed away. He now wants the vaccine. It's so sad that it came to that."


7. "I was scared at first because I have polycystic ovary syndrome and didn't know what it would do to me in the future when I wanted to try to conceive. But being in the military, when I finally got a chance to go home to see my 70-year-old dad, I knew I had to get it to keep him safe. I couldn’t live with myself if I gave him COVID-19."


8. "Early on, I was worried about how fast the vaccines were made. It wasn't until I really sat down and looked at the research and the history of vaccines that I felt comfortable. The biggest factor: Vaccines are very unlikely to produce side effects months after inoculation. We are LONG past that point, so if there were any serious side effects, we'd know about them. That really made me feel better."


Man holding a sticker that says, "I Am Vaccinated Against COVID-19"

9. "I was skeptical at first because of the speed at which the vaccine was made, and I worried we hadn’t had time to see all the side effects. I was also planning to get pregnant soon, and officials weren’t recommending it for pregnant women at that point. After discussing it with an OB-GYN and a pharmacist, I felt much better. My husband and I were able to get fully vaccinated before I got pregnant, and I feel so much better knowing I’m able to have that extra protection for my unborn child, as well as my 2.5-year-old son, who is not old enough to get vaccinated."


10. "I was hesitant at first because of how new it was and because of my family medical history. Even though my county isn't experiencing super-high cases anymore, I work at an extremely popular tourist attraction visited by people from other states and countries where there is no mask mandate. I therefore started to feel very nervous, and I realized I felt more safe getting the shot than I did going without it."


11. "I was never hesitant, although I am afraid of needles. However, relatives landing in the hospital and/or dying before they had the chance to be vaccinated played a role in me not hesitating."


12. "I got vaccinated because of pressure from my family and society. I was scared I wouldn't be able to partake in normal, everyday things like grocery shopping, work, school, and travel unless I got it."


14-year-old receives a COVID-19 vaccination

13. "I wasn’t planning on getting the vaccine at first, mainly because of my fear of needles. One day it finally hit me that I work with infants and need to do what I can to protect them as well as myself."


14. "I am immunosuppressed, so the vaccine was a no-brainer for me (even though it may not be as effective for people like me), but some of my family members, including my brother, were hesitant. I explained to him that getting the vaccine wasn’t about protecting just himself, but also the others around him who can’t protect themselves, like me or his baby. I’m happy to say that he is now fully vaccinated."


15. "I was brought up in a family that doesn’t believe in 'live' vaccinations, basically meaning the only thing I’m vaccinated against is polio — and now COVID. For me, it was seeing all the beds in hospitals filled with people dying because they couldn’t breathe. All I could think about was what if I had gone out and brought it back to my parents."


16. "I was worried about taking something that had only just been created because I have a lot of random allergies and didn't want complications. My fiancé refused to take it because his coworkers are the type of conservatives that believe the government is always trying to interfere with people's rights and the pandemic is fake news. Anyone considering the vaccine had to listen to the owners' conspiracy theories until they changed their mind. When people I knew with various anaphylactic allergies came out OK post-vaccine, I decided to get it in order to protect family members who couldn't in case I brought it home. Meanwhile, my fiancé's work started having COVID outbreaks, and his employers encouraged people not to get tested or to lie about their workplace so they could fly under public health officials' radar. Eventually the fact that his work was not doing anything to protect him or anyone else spooked him enough to get it."


Nurse flexes her arm as she shows off her COVID-19 vaccine record card after receiving a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

17. "I was initially skeptical about the shot since it came out so quickly, and I was planning on holding out until the shots had been around longer. However, I work retail, and a lot of the customers are unhygienic. The day I decided I was getting the vaccine was the day a customer took off his mask, coughed for several minutes, and mentioned he had the flu. Although it was the flu and not COVID-19, it let me know how at-risk I actually was."


18. "I would say I was more scared than skeptical. I got my information from doctors I trust and not from the internet. Plus, 98% of people in hospitals for COVID are unvaccinated. I'll get my first shot on Tuesday."


19. "I'm high risk, so it's whack that I didn't want it at first. However, I realized I didn't have to have the same views and opinions as my parents, and I could get vaccinated if I wanted to. I gathered my own information and realized it was really my part to do it. My boyfriend's dad is also high risk, and that was an added concern."


20. "If the vaccine turned out to be like the one from I Am Legend, I’d rather be the vampire than the one running from the vampire. I got my shots a few days after that occurred to me."



While we applaud #20's vaccination, it should be noted that, in I Am Legend, a genetically modified virus — not a vaccine — causes the plague that turns people into mutants. (H/t Vera Bergengruen)

If you were skeptical of the vaccine but ultimately got it, what made you change your mind? Let us know in the comments below.

Editor's note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.