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Some Oregonians are changing their minds about skipping the vaccine

As the delta variant surges, some people who decided not to get vaccinated are reconsidering.

PORTLAND, Ore. — With the delta variant surging, some people who decided not to get vaccinated are reconsidering their decision. 

Virginia followed restrictions and mandates aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus but didn’t want to get the vaccine. Her concern was that the process to find one seemed rushed. 

"The second that they did, they just wanted everybody to get vaccinated and I didn’t feel like it allowed them enough time to properly test it on a pool of people," she said.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there were a number of reasons the COVID-19 vaccine was ready for a rollout and some were: 

  • The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic.
  • China isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, so scientists could start working on vaccines.
  • The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.
  • Vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.
  • Some types of COVID-19 vaccines were created using messenger RNA (mRNA), which allows a faster approach than the traditional way that vaccines are made.

Destiny Beller had similar concerns. She has multiple chronic conditions with some issues still undiagnosed. She worried about a serious reaction to the vaccine. "It wasn’t worth the risk in my mind then, side effects that could have made things worse," said Beller.

RELATED: Oregon surpasses COVID-19 records for case numbers, hospitalizations and ICU beds

The main side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are short-term and include things like low-grade fever and pain and redness around the injection site. The World Health Organization says on its website, "...serious or long lasting side effects to vaccines are possible but extremely rare."

However, with news of the delta variant making people sicker and spreading twice as fast as the original virus, both Beller and Virginia had a change in attitude. 

RELATED: Yes, delta variant symptoms are slightly different than original COVID-19 strain symptoms

"I felt like the risk of any side effects from getting COVID-19 were a lot more than any risk that I would get from the vaccine," explained Beller. 

"It’s really getting to a point that we cannot ignore the fact of how dangerous and how bad it is,” said Virginia.

Both received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks. So far, about 55% of Oregonians are fully vaccinated, with an additional 4.6%, like Beller and Virginia, who have gotten at least their first dose. That's about 2.5 million people.     

"Everybody should be able to choose for themselves but honestly if we want to go back to something that’s close to normal, then we should all just get it,” said Virginia.