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Cliff williams / The Outlook Aretha Holley fills a syringe with the Pfizer vaccine at the drive through vaccination clinic Friday at Great Bethel Missionary Baptist.

Needles and I have an understanding.

For years I have always turned my head at needles especially when they come into contact with me. I have had my share of cavities filled and always close my eyes when the dentist brings the stainless steel syringe up to make my mouth numb. I always turn my head when Red Cross personnel start to put a needle in my arm for a blood donation.

Funny thing is I can watch the blood drain through the needle into the tubing leading to a collection bag.

Even my eyes have been prodded by needles. My eyes have been punctured by perfectly trained retina specialists. With my eyelid held open, I have seen the needle pulled from my side and puncturing it. I have watched the needle plunge and the once syringe housed liquid mix in my eye.

Yes I have been vaccinated before. Yes I have received a steroid shot when feeling under the weather, but like always I have been able to turn away and not see the injection.

Several health partners including Russell Medical and UAB teamed up to provide nearly 100 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines Friday.

But never have I seen this many needles before. This COVID-19 pandemic has brought needles back into the equation for me.

Now needles are everywhere.

Just last month I became a Moderna man. The first dose was fine, a little sore at the injection site but nothing to write home about.

A few weeks later I walked back in the same clinic as before. The nurse gave me a light-hearted warning.

“The old people are just fine in most cases after the second dose,” she said. “Young people though, it’s taking them out for a day.”

I had heard those warnings from others in recent months.

I thought surely it was for those just looking to take a sick day.

I awoke from my sleep 12 hours later with chills. I went back to sleep hoping to wake early to get to work early.

4:30 a.m. the alarm went off.

Things were not looking good. Chills were still there and body aches, mild fever and fatigue were now added to my list of symptoms.

Gone was the idea of getting things at work done early.

My next alarm sounded at 6:30 a.m.

I made it from the bed to the couch. I fell back asleep.

At 10:30 a.m. I knew the day was done.

I normally take 10,000 steps or more a day. I was lucky if I made 100 that day. I slept 28 of the 48 hours after getting that second dose of Moderna.

Would I do it again? The answer is yes.

I was around Auburn University when a measles outbreak started. It quickly ended under a mass vaccination program.

I have studied the history of polio and other medical diagnoses where a vaccine is available. The vaccines almost always work.

I was leary of this vaccine to start with but after reading that the basics of the vaccine had been in development for a decade for another coronavirus and quickly adapted, I came around to being supportive of it.

Millions of people have rolled up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine. Some have had experiences like me. Others have had milder side effects. Many have been just fine.

Would I get in line for the vaccine again? Yes.

As vials filled with the COVID-19 vaccine and the hope of life returning to normal are shipping more and more I recommend everyone who can get the vaccine to get it.

If you get side-effects, they only last a day or so.

Now it’s two weeks after my second Moderna injection. As far as I know there is no chip broadcasting my location or my pertinent information to authorities, not that I’m hard to find.

I’m hopeful it works.

I’m hopeful many will see the science behind the vaccine is good.

I’m hopeful the vaccine helps bring the world to a new normal.

I’m hopeful the vaccine will help the world start to understand again it’s not about left or right or Republican or Democrat. It’s about the well-being of all of us.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.