Photo of a gloved hand holding a vial of COVID-19 vaccine
Photo courtesy of The Focal Project / flickr

As a child, my experiences with vaccines are what brought me to the decisions I have made today for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Every year I took a vaccine to attend school, I would get a rash that was said to be caused by the vaccine taken at the time. Once I was allowed to make my own decisions with my body, I no longer allowed any type of experimental vaccine into my body. Everyone on earth may have the same features, but we all react to everything differently. I have a seizure disorder, so things affect me differently. Over the last ten years I have had to readjust to medications and have felt side effects that I no longer want to experience in life from any medication or vaccine. I currently take Aptiom and Lamictal that I cannot miss for any reason, and I worry the vaccine could trigger a life-threatening seizure.  

The COVID-19 vaccines are still allowed by the Food and Drug Administration on an emergency basis, and I have found in the past that my body and mentality are not structured to handle experimental vaccines or medications. After doing extensive research, I have come to the conclusion that I do not trust the FDA. At the end of the day, it’s just a job to them. They all benefit from others getting sick and pretending to cure all while in reality people are dying because of their trials and tribulations. 

At this point, I feel that I am being forced to take a vaccine to keep a job, and I feel I’m looked at differently because my views are different then the average person. 

While I was at work one day gathering papers, I caught the end of a conversation in which someone said that people who do not take the vaccine are stupid. Hearing that hurt, and reminded me of my days of homelessness, which are feelings I never like re-visiting. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I never think less of anyone else for wanting to take the vaccine, so I am extremely saddened by the fact that people like me are looked down upon. I’m currently struggling with the fact that we probably will never see eye to eye on this subject. 

I contacted my doctor, and spoke to her about why I will not take the vaccine in hopes of some type of documentation to provide for my employer. She explained to me that I should either look for another job or take the vaccine. Now I’m being told by my doctor and employer that I have to take the vaccine or I can’t work there anymore.

I also plan to do a lot of traveling for networking, and feel that as long as I as well as everyone around me wears masks and social distances there will be no issues, just like there aren’t any now. When I go outside or visit stores, I’m noticing that people are getting comfortable with not wearing masks, which I feel is irresponsible and uncaring for those of us who feel masks are still needed to protect the safety of all. 

I’m currently backed in a corner and being forced by multiple individuals and organizations to get a vaccine or be treated as less worthy for having different beliefs. I can not change a person’s way of thinking, but I should have full control over what I put into my body without the stress of losing my job, and will fight for what’s right until the day that I die. 

Marcellus Phillips is a vendor program associate with Street Sense Media. 


EDITOR’S NOTE: Street Sense Media requires people working in its offices to be vaccinated, and masks to be worn in common areas. Also, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been proven safe and effective, with side effects only in rare cases.