Working through the vaccination can be daunting for some. Enter the ‘vaccine fairy’.

Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has plummeted in the past few weeks.

Health experts say they still think there is a group of people who have not yet made up their mind on the injection but are processing fears and concerns.

A chef who is very afraid of needles and who has found the courage to inject, tells us about the experience, and we meet the stranger who helped her through this fear.

Kelsey Peterson: My name is Kelsey Peterson. I was unemployed for the last year, but the last time I was working at the Waffle Window. Which was a pretty fun time.

CVS pharmacist Jordan Tran prepares a syringe while administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, December 21, 2020.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Uh, I really hate needles. How many people. Just imagining appointments and recordings to myself, I basically skip everything I can. This was one that I knew I had to do and I wasn’t sure how.

Personally, my health is pretty good. I can isolate myself easily, but I want to get out again and I want to be safe for myself, but also for others.

It is very important to me not to have to worry about putting others in danger.

Amanda Blum: I’m Amanda Blum. I’m 45. I live in Portland, Oregon. And I am what a lot of people call a vaccine or a vaccination volunteer. I’m not in any group or anything, I’m just a person who wants to help other people get vaccinated.

People interested in helping others vaccinate are often referred to as

People interested in helping others vaccinate are often referred to as “vaccine fairies” on the Reddit social page. Portland-based Amanda Blum says she helped about 200 people get vaccination appointments after reaching out to them for assistance through her Reddit post.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

I got probably 200 people appointments from Reddit. In this case, I targeted a group that said, hey, if you have any fear, if you need any special conditions or accommodation for vaccination, let me know and I will find out for you and Kelsey was one of the people who responded.

Peterson: I took the courage to write her an email. I said hello, I’m really scared, can you help me make an appointment? I have a hard time making it.

She was super helpful and got some information from me. Made the appointment. Actually offered to drive me, go with me. I do not have a car.

It can be quite embarrassing when you’re so afraid to go out with someone you know. For me, a trustworthy stranger was the perfect situation. And then it was great to meet her. She picked me up right in front of my apartment to take me to my appointment. It’s a lot of fun.

She played music and we laughed and joked. Which was a great relief for me. Because it went from a really scary situation – which I thought I would have to take the bus and do it alone – to being with someone and laughing about it. A very special connection was to be found.

Blum: I suspect most people would be surprised to find that there are people around them who are not vaccinated and who petrify telling people. And if you just ask specific questions, you can find these people and help them.

Peterson: For the actual recording, it was really nice not to be with other people, to have privacy in the car. And it was quick, so quick. Immediately after I got the injection another nurse came to check if we were in line and I said I just got it and “Congratulations yay” and I was so emotional and it really was surprising to me, because that was again the opposite reaction to how I thought it would work. I thought I was going to be panicked and stressed out.

Workers at the Drive-Through Mass COVID-19 <a class=Vaccination Clinic at Portland International Airport, April 9, 2021, monitor people while they wait after vaccination. “/>

Workers at the Drive-Through Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Portland International Airport, April 9, 2021, monitor people while they wait after vaccination.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Because I could find the people who made me comfortable, it was a really proud and happy moment.

Even just being vaccinated is a huge relief. … I am approaching the new normal that we are pursuing.

Blum: I literally ask every single person I come into contact with whether they walk in front of my house, whether I check out at the supermarket. The construction team next door. I got my postman vaccinated.

I always start with this very simple premise: Is everyone here who wants to be vaccinated vaccinated? I think if I ask it like that, it becomes clear that I am not asking anything of you. I am opening a door. It is your choice.

Sometimes people respond in such a way that it becomes clear that it is not their choice, but they are open to talking about it.

A person with gloves gives a shot in the upper arm of a person wearing a mask.

Dr. Jane Birschbach, MD, right, administered the COVID-19 vaccine to Barrett Flesh at the Deschutes County Public Health Department in Bend, Oregon on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

Peterson: Conversations are difficult. Especially when you’ve been isolated for so long. Just a simple conversation can be overwhelming. So when talking about a vaccine that can be controversial, even talking to close friends can be scary. But also inspiring to be that for others.

For example, I’m afraid of needles, but maybe there is another way I can inspire people to get vaccinated. The importance of these conversations is enormous because it is easy to avoid talking about scary things. And that’s one that we really shouldn’t be avoiding, I think.

About Thelma Wilt

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