An Important Message from VOA Chaplain, Donna, About Vaccinations

As every year inches toward closing, I engage in some reflection and 2020 will certainly be no exception. We’ve been given much to think about.

On December 2 my husband began running a slight fever, had chills and a cough. There was high anxiety in our household that he might have Covid-19 and of what might lie ahead if so and much retrospective reflection on whether we had done everything in our control to prevent transmission. We both tested negative a few days later but the fear that both he and I might be infected and what that might entail is a feeling I remember vividly.

We remain vigilant and are aware that many have tested positive despite being very responsible and following recommended protocols and guidance. This infectious disease is opportunistic and does not play fair. I just yesterday attended the funeral of an employee’s father due to the coronavirus and we grieve deeply the loss of loved ones connected to our VOA family.

As I read Dr. Muhammad Babar’s article
, my appreciation grew for his support of and commitment to our organization as an individual and as a member of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of Kentucky and Indiana. Among other supportive actions, this group has blessed our men in Addiction Recovery Services with delicious Thanksgiving dinners and we were exploring other collaborative volunteer options as Covid-19 arrived on the scene.

I also appreciate Dr Babar’s wisdom as a physician and as a human being with legitimate questions and concerns. His authenticity in describing his own initial hesitation about vaccination and his thoughts regarding the scientific review process impacted my thinking and decision to get the vaccine as soon as possible. To the limited degree I can understand hesitation due to historical events with people of color and earned mistrust, I do understand. Yet with people of color succumbing at a higher rate to this disease, I believe that doing what we can do, all of us, is crucial to decrease transmission and to keep safe as many as possible.

Dr. Babar really hit the mail on the head in noting we are all entwined. The decisions we make and actions we take do not operate in a vacuum; the impact of what we do has ripple effects. If we acknowledge the intertwining, which in normal circumstances is to be celebrated, then we acknowledge our impact upon each other, whether intentional or not, in the many decisions we make daily.

In my faith tradition and in many traditions, loving your neighbor and care for others is a key tenet. Care includes protection. Being vaccinated will be an expression of care, not only for myself and in caretaking of the body gifted to me, but it will also be an expression of care for my family and coworkers and friends. It will be an expression of care for those at greater risk of contracting Covid-19. It will be an expression of care for people like my niece, a nurse who shouldn’t have to work in even more arduous and high risk conditions because I’m unwilling to do everything in my power to protect myself and her. As Dr. Babar noted, prayer is important, but also is using every weapon in our arsenal against this virus and disease.

Donna Trabue

Volunteers of America Mid-state's Chaplain