Jesus Larralde: Get the Vaccine So We Can Return to Normal!


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Jesus Larralde is ready for the pandemic to be over.

He wants to be able to spend time with his sisters and his dad, who is undergoing cancer treatment and has a weakened immune system.

He’s watched many friends, coworkers, and family members get COVID-19, and has seen the long-lasting effects it can have.

But Larralde was nervous to get the vaccine at first. He didn’t want it to make him sick and was nervous about the potential side effects.

Larralde decided to get the vaccine when his wife Lenea was offered the Pfizer vaccine through working at UT Health San Antonio.

He’s glad he did because he can spend more time with his family.And he’s doing his part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We need to learn, and we need to understand that we need to stop spreading this thing around. Because if we don’t take our shots, that’s not going to happen,” Larralde said.

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COVID-19 Disrupted Family Life

Before the pandemic, Larralde enjoyed hosting barbecues with his extended family.

“We’re Mexicans, and we always like to get together,” Larralde said. “But then when this happened, we had to bring them groceries over the fence. We weren’t able to go into their houses and see them face-to-face.”

Larralde has seen many people in his life get sick with COVID-19.

“I have friends at work that had it. And for two weeks, they had to be out of work. And then my mom and my dad and my two sisters, they had it. So we had to stay away from them and it was weird to experience that situation,” Larralde said.

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His friends and family have mostly recovered, but his dad experiences lasting psychological effects.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. We were looking at the TV and they said there were kind of side effects after COVID. And we experienced that because his mood changed a lot and stuff like that. So he still remembers things, but there were problems with his imagination too,” Larralde said.

And because of his weakened immune system from the cancer treatment, Larralde and his family are nervous his father could get sick again.

That was one of the main decisions that led him to ultimately get a COVID-19 vaccine.

But at first, he was on the fence.

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Initial Fears about the COVID-19 Vaccines

Larralde was skeptical about the vaccine at first because he didn’t want to get sick and experience side effects from the vaccine. He saw on Facebook that family and friends were posting that they felt really sick after getting the vaccine.

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“You hear so many things from other people, that when they got the vaccine, they had side effects like headaches, or they had a fever, or they were sick. People were saying there’s going to be lasting effects in the future,” Larralde said.

Larralde was nervous that he would get sick from the vaccine and that it would make his family and immunocompromised dad sick again.

But when his wife Lenea was offered the vaccine through UT Health, Larralde began rethinking his position.

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Changing His Mind – A Conversation with Family and His Doctor

Larralde noticed more and more people in his life choosing to get a vaccine.

Lenea chose to get her vaccine so that she would feel more comfortable going to work. Larralde’s sisters both got their vaccines so that they could spend time with their parents again.

Then, Larralde’s doctor strongly recommended that he get a vaccine.

“I’m getting treatment for blood pressure and diabetes, so my doctor recommended that I take the vaccine for COVID,” Larralde said.

His doctor said that with underlying health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, his risk for a severe COVID-19 infection was significant.

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Even though Larralde has been making progress in managing those health conditions over the last two years, his doctor still suggested it would be a good idea to get a vaccine soon.

So Larralde agreed to get his vaccine through UT Health as well.

He got both of his doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. He was glad that the process was easy and that he didn’t experience side effects.

“It was really quick. I was thinking it would take longer, but it was less than 15 minutes. Didn’t seem to have any side effects. I was pretty much fine,” Larralde said.

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Getting the Vaccine Means Back to Normal Life

Now that he has the vaccine, Larralde hopes that others will get it too so that society can go back to pre-pandemic life and that we can stop the virus from mutating.

Jesus Larralde spanish social 4“We need to stop spreading this thing around. Because without the shots, it’s not going to happen. I mean, nothing’s going to get fixed, it’s going to be worse and worse, and it might mutate into something stronger, or a different sickness is going to come out after that. So we need to stop it,” Larralde said.

He’s confident that as more and more people are vaccinated, we can soon return to our normal lives and spend more time with our families and friends.

“With the vaccines, we’re going to stop it,” Larralde said. “It’s going to be hard, but we can get it done. And then we can get back to normal at some point.”

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This success story was produced by Salud America! with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The stories are intended for educational and informative purposes. References to specific policymakers, individuals, schools, policies, or companies have been included solely to advance these purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation. Stories are based on and told by real community members and are the opinions and views of the individuals whose stories are told. Organization and activities described were not supported by Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and do not necessarily represent the views of Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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