From vaccine confidence to vaccine nervousness with a ‘oh hey, I tested positive…’ email from a colleague

What a difference a week makes.

It was barely seven days ago that my friend cut short our phone conversation to go to her “booster” appointment. She was excited to be, in her opinion, fully vaccinated.

Fast forward to Monday morning when she called me in hysterics. She said a lot of words I can’t write in this newspaper column but I can summarize her situation.

She said she received an email from a colleague noting that he tested positive for COVID-19. She told me she sat beside him for a two-hour meeting days earlier and at one point he joked to her, “Don’t worry, I’m fully vaccinated.”

My friend is learning that being “fully vaccinated” doesn’t, well, mean all that much. Yes, the symptoms could be less severe but, let’s be honest, you could have the same outcome as anybody at this point.

Her meltdown continued questioning the reason for the precautions she’d been taking. “Why are we wearing masks? Why are we staying six feet apart? Why are we wearing masks and staying six feet apart? Why are we getting vaccines and boosted?”

All good questions. I can’t begin to make up reasons or excuses for her. In all honesty, I thought I knew the answers but now I question the logic of what we’ve been hearing all this time.

To be clear, my friend isn’t showing any symptoms but, alas, what does that mean since people can still be “carriers” without knowing? It means paranoia, that’s for sure.

She texted me later in the day noting that she sneezed twice and her co-workers were giving her side glare. Her series of texts said, “Now people assume I have it (COVID) because I sneezed. This is ridiculous. I can’t even face people at work now.”

Later, she wondered if she was overreacting. I didn’t have an answer.

She went from being gung-ho and stoked about getting “boosted” to second guessing – even questioning — everything she’d been told and believed since the pandemic began all because of one close encounter.

I remember feeling paranoid travelling to the U.S. last June fearing that I came back with “it” simply because I went on an airplane since that was the scare tactic at the time. “Now is not the time to travel,” Prime Minister Trudeau lectured. Remember, that was when I was tested four times in a week just to leave the country for work.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” she lamented. “If it’s coming from a politician or a doctor connected to politicians, I’m not trusting it. Too many doctors on TV telling us different things. I’m just going to stay away from people from now on.”

It makes you wonder if those early-on shutdowns that inconvenienced everyone’s life were actually beneficial. Once everything opened up and those highly touted vaccines came around, the situation got much worse. Coincidence? Or just paranoia?

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