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Home Explore LaVacunaEsParaNosotros-English


Published by Garfield County, Colorado, 2021-05-07 19:39:47

Description: LaVacunaEsParaNosotros-English


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LA VACUNA ES PARA NOSOTROS “The vaccine is for us” Photo stories by Sylvia Johnson Made possible by National Geographic Society’s Emergency Fund for Journalists & created in collaboration with Garfield County Public Health. April 2021

This last year and a half has been very difficult, but it has also made me see my blessings. It has not been as difficult for me as for other families I know. I’ve worked with families in the community that have really struggled, and it gives me a perspective of gratitude and appreciation, of valuing what I do have. I work for a charter school and we try to serve the community and get to know the community we live in. I also work for the Safe & Abundant Nutrition Alliance where we have been doing food distribution. Now, we’ve dedicated ourselves to working with food banks to help them structure distributions in a way that removes the stigma, so that people are not ashamed to go and ask for food, they feel welcome, and they get good quality food. I’d like the Latino community to know that there is still a lot of help available, there are still many people and organizations that want to help. I got vaccinated for various reasons. I wanted to go back to working in public without having to be in my basement. I wanted to be able to go visit my family without feeling guilty that they might get sick if I go. The biggest reason is that it is the way to stop this pandemic. People are working now and focusing on that, but that doesn’t mean that other needs haven’t increased, like mental health. I think everyone is on the edge of losing their minds if something else were to happen. I imagine that life will never be the same, but that;’s good, because we’ve lived through something in life that we hadn’t experienced before. I believe that we are going to value the little things more, which in reality are the important things. Our health, for example, and being able to hug a loved one. - Brenda

ALEX: We work in the Sheriff's department and we had to keep working as essential employees throughout the pandemic. My position still requires me to travel. I work a little less now, but we always keep working. It's daily contact, five days a week, with different people in the county. MAIRA: I think that at first we didn’t want to believe it at all and we thought that we were very removed from it. When in reality we were very close simply because we work with people who got sick, one person who passed away and another who got sick and was hospitalized, we worked very closely with them. ALEX: I decided to get the vaccine to protect myself. With the number of people that I have to be in contact with daily, I prefer to be on the side of being a little safer, by getting vaccinated, rather than to take the risk, of not getting the vaccine and tending up worse for it. When people ask me, \"How did getting the vaccine go?\" I say, \"Before I wore a mask so I wouldn’t get infected, now I wear the mask so that I don’t bite you.\" They laugh. I tell people, \"I had no reaction. Don't be afraid to get the vaccine, it's for your own good.\" MAIRA: I want people to understand that more than anything, the vaccine is an assistance that is being given to us so that we don’t get infected. I decided to get the vaccine to protect myself, but also for my family and other people I know, so that they could see that nothing happened to me, and that I’m not growing bat ears, or becoming a zombie or an alien or anything like that. I can’t wait to be able to interact normally again, without being so afraid of saying to my family, \"Come over, we’re going to get together at the house. Come on over, I’m looking forward to seeing you.\" More than anything I would really like to be able to be all together, and be unafraid. - Alex & Maira

I started to feel a little sick, with just a little cough. Itt wasn’t much, but my body started to get weak. My husband and I decided to go to the hospital to see if they’d give me something, since my body felt so weak and I didn’t have much strength. They didn’t let my husband in and I didn’t understand why I had to stay. I made some calls, and talked to my husband, but after that I don’t remember anything. My husband says that he went to see me every day and he rubbed my feet and talked to me, but I didn’t react. He says that when he touched my feet, they were cold, like ice. The doctors told him, \"She’s at the end, she’s only about 20% alive. We can't do anything more here, we need a bed with special equipment and we don't have one here in the valley. She is going to die. \". He said, \"No. You have something to do.\" They started making calls and you know what? There was one bed available in Denver. It was mine. The doctors said, \"We are going to have to transport her by helicopter.\" They say that I was in very bad shape. I was intubated for a long time, almost three weeks intubated in Denver. I was immobilized, like a vegetable. When I woke up I marveled at my body because it was not me, my feet were really skinny, I was like a skeleton. My husband says I looked like an old woman, with my skin all wrinkled up. They found out that I had blood clots so they put a filter in my heart. I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything for myself, people had to do everything for me. It was totally shocking for my family, for my children, just imagine, I’d never been hospitalized before. My husband saved my life. The coronavirus has no respect for your race, your age, or how careful you are - I took all the precautions. The coronavirus is real. What this disease made me see is how important it is that we believe that we deserve everything in this life. I’m still waiting to find out when I can get vaccinated, but I am going to get the vaccine, for myself after all that I went through, and for others, because I want others to feel reassured that I am going to be here with them, that I am going to live. - Carmen

Living through the pandemic has been difficult, especially because of the type of business we have. When it started, they closed us down right after we had inaugurated our new space. We started serving through the take-out window and that is what kept us open. We got a little behind on the rent, but we negotiated with the owner and he gave us the chance to pay bit by bit. We still need to catch up to be able to make any profit, we’ve lost a lot. We’ve made just enough to stay open. My family has helped me, my wife helps me a lot, my daughters, everyone. It is a family business. People have been loyal. I am very grateful to our clients, without them we wouldn’t be open. Right now with the pandemic I am focusing on creating food to make the immune system stronger. I think what we eat is really important for our health. Recently I got my second vaccine shot. My common sense tells me that it is like when vaccines came out for other serious diseases, such as measles and smallpox. Vaccines have always worked. From my experience, this vaccine has been developed for this disease, why not get it? Many people in various countries around the world have gotten the vaccine already and there is no evidence where you could say, \"People are dying from the vaccine\", no. Not getting the vaccine is a big risk. It is a matter of taking care of yourself and other people. This goes for the restaurant too. It’s not just about taking care of myself and those of us who work here, no, it’s about taking care of everyone who comes here. - Francisco (& Marylu)

Many aspects of life have changed. In my work, in my personal life, with the kids, everything has changed. Wearing masks, restrictions that make it so you can’t do what you did day to day before, but little by little we’ve adapted to this. I had Covid once. It was hard, because I had a high fever and my bones really ached.I didn’t lose my sense of smell or taste, but I couldn’t eat anything. That’s what I struggled with the most, that I couldn't swallow and couldn't eat anything even though I was really hungry. I decided to get vaccinated. First, because I’d already had Covid-19 and I don’t want to get it again. Second, because I try to take care of my work and my family, my wife. My wife actually works for public health, and she had already gotten vaccinated a long time ago, she was one of the first. She didn’t get sick, even with being around me. I have a five year old son and I want to protect him. What matters most to me is taking care of my family. I am a butcher, I work in a butcher shop and serve a lot of people. That is also why I decided to get vaccinated, because I may be covered, but I don't know about everyone else. At work, if you are vaccinated you no longer have to quarantine, because you are protected by the vaccine. I think it is a real protection to have the vaccine if you work. I have three sisters and some of them had chosen not to get vaccinated, but now they’ve changed their minds. They are trying to get the vaccine, because they saw what happened to me, that I only felt bad for a day, but there were no real side effects. - Giovanny

I work in housekeeping. At work we wear gowns to enter the rooms as well as gloves and a mask. We can never take our masks off. It’s hard, you can’t get together with people or go places like we did before. I have several cousins and an aunt who all got sick from COVID. Thank God they are fine now, but one of them still has long term effects and it was very difficult for them to be in the hospital alone. One was hospitalized for two and a half months. She was really sick, and alone, because the family wasn’t allowed in. They went to the hospital, but weren’t allowed in. Thank God I already have both of my vaccine shots. I decided to get vaccinated both to protect myself and to protect other people. Right now we need to do the right thing and get vaccinated so that this pandemic ends. I miss being able to go out to the country with my family, to rivers and parks. Right now if I need to go to the store, my daughter stays at home with the kids, or if my daughter needs to go to the store, I stay home with the grandchildren so that they don’t get exposed. The kids miss going out more. I’d like to take my grandchildren out for a walk without any fear. It’s really important that we all get vaccinated, to protect each other and our families. Even if we all get vaccinated, I think we are still going to feel a little scared. - Isela

This pandemic has been an unusual experience - a little bit of everything, economic, social, and emotional impact. There have been many changes, but it has also helped me to reach deep and learn to love myself and take care of myself and my family. My 14 year old daughter got sick. Being at home for 14 days in quarantine was complicated, but it also helped us come together, to take care of each other and protect ourselves, because there were eight of us in a single house with two children for 15 days. We didn’t go out even to get food in order to protect our community. I’d knock on her door, leave her some food, and we all wore masks. When she was done, she’d call or we would text each other so I could go get the plates. That was the strangest part, we were living in the same house, but had to use a group chat to say things like, \"I'm going out, make sure nobody is in the kitchen or the living room.\" Nobody else got sick, but it was really stressful for me, being locked up like that. I had to be very careful, to protect my children, and to protect myself to be sure that I could continue working and not fall behind economically. I decided to get vaccinated primarily to have more peace of mind, and so I don’t get anyone else sick. The vaccine gives me the confidence that I am not going to harm another person, and for me that is important. I’ve seen an incredible change in the people who’ve already been vaccinated, they are going out to enjoy what they have. They don’t look depressed anymore, I don't see them being like, \"Stay away from me.\" If we all collaborate and get the vaccine, we will be able to live more calmly and we can get out of this situation faster and recover economically. Apart from our health, I think that the financial and the emotional pieces are the most important parts that we are all struggling with right now in this situation. - Isidra

The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult, mostly because I got sick. It is a very terrible feeling, because it affects you emotionally and physically. It is an experience that no one wants to have. About eight months have passed now and I had the opportunity to get vaccinated. Thank God I was able to. I had a small reaction to the vaccine. The nurses warned us about it, and said not to be afraid or to panic, because some, not all, but some people experience symptoms as part of the reaction. Now I feel normal again like anyone else. I decided to get the vaccine because I don't want to experience that kind of pain again. At least I know that I did something to protect myself from the disease. I was sick for about two months. At first I didn't know what it was, but then I went to the medical center and they told me why. Thank God it wasn’t more serious and I’m still here. I couldn't work and it affected me a lot. I had to receive family assistance. It’s sad, because some of us manage to survive it and others don’t. It’s very important to get vaccinated because there are consequences if we don’t make a conscious effort. We have to think about ourselves and also those around us like family members and children. As Latinos we come from a really united culture. That’s why we try to protect each other as family, as friends, as neighbors. We don’t want to see anyone suffer in that way, even if they aren’t family. I encourage all people to get motivated and be conscientious , \"What is our hope for the future?\" Because right now we can motivate each other. There are so many opportunities in this life, especially in this country. Mutual assistance is very important. - Jose

This year I have seen many inequities, especially in my Latino community. I feel like many of these inequities already existed, but they have been magnified now with the pandemic. It has really hit our area very hard, and me personally as a small business owner as well. It has been very difficult. I’ve also been lucky, I have a lot of work and I have been able to help many people, but I feel that the work is just beginning. I am an interpreter and translator. At first we were doing a lot of interpreting via video calls and we immediately saw the barriers to technology for our people. Also, with my worker’s comp work, sometimes clients would come to therapy or their appointments with symptoms and the clinic wanted us to be there in person. That was really hard, trying to balance being professional, but also taking care of myself and taking care of the people who work for me. Ever since the pandemic started, I knew I wanted the vaccine. When they started saying that public health employees were eligible for the vaccine, I started looking for information on how we could be in that category, because we aren’t hospital employees, but we are health workers and we are medical workers. I fought for us to be in that category and my team and I received the vaccine at the end of December. I am excited to, hopefully, plan to visit my grandmother, to plan a trip or outing with my husband, to go to restaurants, which was something that I really liked to do before. A lot of advocacy work is still needed, where we speak for ourselves, knowing that we are the experts in our community and we can create solutions for our own community. - Liz

This year has been very hard. If it weren't for the help that we received, I don't know what we would have done. Just imagine, I don’t work, my daughter wasn’t working and we had no income. When they are able to work, some money comes in and they help me out, but they weren’t even able to work. Then we were just holed up in here. And there is still the daily fear. My throat just hurts a little bit and I already think it's Covid. My brother got Covid-19 last year. He died in late November. He lasted for about a month at the hospital in Grand Junction. God took him from me and it's hard. He was younger than me, but he also had diabetes and supposedly he recovered from Covid, but passed away from the complications. At least they gave him to us and he had his mass, he was buried. That is a positive, because it makes me sad how people don’t even get to see their families or say goodbye. I pray, \"Dear father, if you are going to take me, take me whatever you want, but not from Covid.\" I want my children to see me, I want to be with them. We haven’t gotten sick, thank God, we are still here. I’ve gotten both vaccine shots already. I really missed going to church, because they closed it for a little while and we couldn't go. I like to go to mass and to prayer. Now I can participate when there is something going on at church. I would like all of us to get vaccinated so we can have a little more peace of mind, because a lot of people don’t want to get it and we are all in community . We have to be a little careful about the disease. As I said, if it’s going to get us, it’s going to get us, but I think that if we were all vaccinated there would be less risk. Hopefully people are encouraged to do it for their family. When you’re older, you think, \"If I die, it’ll be my turn\", but if you have a family, you have to cooperate so that the family is well too. - Maria Petra

I'm tired of all this. It is very boring to stay at home all the time and uncomfortable to wear masks all the time. I'm the only one who does all the errands. My wife and children stay at home. Now they are starting to go out once in a while, but I still do everything alone. My daughter is 17 and she really likes sports. Now she doesn’t do anything. She runs and exercises a little bit, but not like she used to, when she never stopped. When we are going to go out or something, we’re not at ease. They say that, if you’re vaccinated there is less danger. They don't know the long-term effects or what can happen if you get the virus. Even if you don’t get that sick now, they don’t know what the impact will be on your body in a few years or what may happen. I am going to get vaccinated, to be more free. I really like parties. Now there aren't any and I'm restless, I want to party, but there aren't any. We need that, to get vaccinated so we can go out together again with my family. We all have to get vaccinated, it’s for everyone’s good. For a lot of people, some people in their family get sick and they have no symptoms, but maybe their wife or kids or siblings get really sick. - It is better to get vaccinated and feel safer. - Octavio

When the pandemic started, I remember that the first month was very hard for me, because I panicked, I became anxious and depressed. A psychologist helped me out of the crisis, because I was afraid of people passing by, that the children would get too close. I didn’t go to stores, I stopped working. It was very hard in that sense. It was also hard having the kids at home, because it was something new and we didn't know how to help them, it stressed me out. I had three children that I needed to help. It took us about two weeks to adjust to online school. Later I went back to work and tried to make my life as normal as possible. I was careful, I always wore my mask, and used hand sanitizer. I said, \"When the vaccine is ready, I'm going to get vaccinated, I'm going to be among the first.” I never doubted the vaccine, ever. In my case it turns out that the vaccine came out right around the time that I got infected. It was somewhat ironic, because I had been looking forward to it so much. My brother started to feel bad first and then my mom. It was very hard because when the whole family gets it at the same time like that - there were nine of us sick at that time - we couldn't help each other. The hardest thing was seeing how sick my brother and sister were. My brother had to have oxygen at home and my sister spent four days in the hospital with pneumonia, her lungs were destroyed. She couldn’t breath, and was almost suffocating, They say that this virus is here to stay, but once everyone is vaccinated we can get back a little bit to living our more normal life. In my case, I think about my children, they are young and need me. What will happen if I get infected again and I don’t survive it? I got vaccinated for myself too, because I want to continue living, I want to see my children grow up. We are not the first. There have been other pandemics. They survived them and made it through thanks to science, thanks to the vaccine. - Mayra

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