HOUSTON — What was once a steady stream of vehicles that were filled with people who happily lined up at NRG Park to get vaccinated for COVID-19 has now turned into a trickle of people, many of whom are reluctant to get the shots.
Even though health officials have been urging everyone able to get vaccinated, Harris County reports only about 53 percent of eligible residents are fully inoculated.
On Tuesday, some of the people who finally decided to get the vaccine explained why they made that decision.
A man named Erik, who did not provide a last name, was angry about getting his vaccine.
“It’s not like a normal vaccine,” Erik said. “I’m totally against it, but I’m doing it out of economic necessity.”
Erik is in the process of looking for a job and is afraid an employer won’t hire him if he’s not vaccinated. On Tuesday, he went to NRG and reluctantly got a shot.
“It’s what I’ve got to do to survive and keep a roof over my head," he said.
Erik’s biggest concern is the novelty of the mRNA vaccine. He says he’s not that afraid of the virus that’s killed than 600,000 Americans.
“This has not been officially passed or cleared by the FDA. It’s got an emergency use authorization," he said.
Another man, Darryl Wash, got his first vaccine Tuesday, too. He has been nervous about the side effects and was anxious after receiving his first shot.
“I’m scared, I’m not going to lie,” Wash said. “It’s hard for me to deal with. Like, right now, I’m having anxiety.”
However, Wash is also afraid of COVID-19. He has congestive heart failure and knows he is high risk for complications. For Wash, his choice boiled down to what he’s less afraid of. The surging Delta variant helped him decide.
“Getting the shot is scary, but what’s even more scary is catching the virus," he said.
His wife, Antoinette, who is a teacher, received her first shot last week. She was also concerned about the side effects.
“The thing that pushed me over (the edge) was working in summer school this summer,” Antoinette Wash said. “Being an educator and working around so many kids with no masks. And then every day just wondering if I got something and will I bring it home to my husband.”
Health officials have been busy trying to address vaccine hesitancy and say vaccines are safe. Studies show any side effects from the vaccines pale in comparison to the dangers of COVID-19.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, text VACCINE to (713) 526-1111.