The choice is yours

The Portsmouth Daily Times, Ohio
·3 min read

Mar. 21—PORTSMOUTH — As more vaccines become available, there is more of a sense of hope for normalcy after the last challenging year of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. With this hope, comes an important decision: whether to vaccinate now or wait.

Pictures have swirled on social media of smiling people holding vaccine completion cards, marking a milestone in the first step back to pre-pandemic life. For some, the decision hasn't been so easy.

Kylee Duduit is 25-weeks pregnant and works in the healthcare industry. Her role is not patient-facing, but she is fully aware of the risks of COVID-19. She trusts the science and knowledge of the medical professionals she works with. However, without formal recommendations available due to the lack of clinical trials involving pregnant women, she agonized over what the right decision is for herself and her little one.

"With that decision looming over me, I sought out information and advice from medical professionals like never before," she said. "I decided that, knowing this was a personal decision I would have to make, I wanted it to be as informed as possible."

She sought out all the advice and information she could, and it led her to a decision: "I wanted to be a part of the solution. I wanted to do all I could to protect my little one with what information we know now."

Duduit said there were several factors that led to her being vaccinated. She knows pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at increased risk for ICU admissions and premature birth. She knows there is no evidence the vaccine impacts fertility and that it cannot alter her or her child's DNA. In short, she knows she has every reason to believe it is safe.

"As the world begins to slowly open back up, I also know that there comes even more of a risk when I do absolutely have to leave my house," she added. "I realized that, to me, I would rather trust what we know about the science of the vaccine now than take a chance on contracting COVID in the latter part of my pregnancy.

"I am thankful to know that there are so many medical professionals out there who have helped me make an informed decision as possible. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with their decision to not hesitate to seek out advice from these trusted sources."

After receiving her first dose, she took a photo — but her photo showed something you don't see in other post-vaccine photos. Her photo showed how much thought was put into the decision. It showed how much pressure she put on herself to get it right. It showed how much she worried about doing the right thing for herself and her child.

Her photo showed tears — and behind those tears, hope.

"I know that I sought out and learned all that I could before I made my decision," she said. "I am proud of what I learned before I stepped into the clinic on that day. For anyone else struggling with this decision, I encourage you to seek out the advice from trusted sources and make the right decision for you."

After no shortage of research, worry and tears, Kylee Duduit is confident she made the right decision. Not just for her, but for her child, too.