Why did I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Johnson, Calvin, MD
| Apr 12, 2021

Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles is partnering with Blackdoctor.org to produce and release a series of videos and panel discussion programs about vital health services. The first of these is a program on COVID Vaccine Hesitancy. Calvin Johnson, MD,  was asked to provide a video presentation regarding his reasons for getting vaccinated which took place on April 7, 2021 The following is a written excerpt from video.

Calvin JohnsonTo answer that question, we have to go back to February of 2020 when the pandemic first hit, and the country went in quarantine. My wife of 37 years had just had a major 9-hour spine surgery.  At the time all we knew was that this COVID-19 virus was airborne, highly contagious, with no treatment and certain death to those that breathed it into their lungs.

The only way to contain this lethal virus was to put a breathing tube in the critically-ill COVID patients to prevent the spewing of the virus into the open air infecting other health care workers in the room. 

The experts at putting breathing tubes in patients are anesthesiologists. We are the “Navy Seals” of the pandemic. Cedars put out a request for volunteer anesthesiologist to form a COVID airway team – 20 of us responded.

Personally, my wife Elaine of 37 years and I are Christians and we prayed and had to reach a decision together to imitate Jesus and lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  To give your life for complete strangers is what Christ did for us.

My wife Elaine and I had to decide our mortality vs serve humanity.  

It was a scary decision for us. We had three married kids, a granddaughter and a grandson to be delivered June of 2020. Elaine didn’t know when I left in the morning to take care of COVID patients if I would come back alive; and likewise, when I returned home, I did not know if I would bring the deadly virus home to Elaine resulting in her death. We kept our faith in God and surrendered to His will.

We are not heroes. If you overcome your fear for just five seconds you can do the right thing. 

You see in order to place the breathing tube in a COVID patient your face is within three to six inches of their breathing mouths. They are breathing the virus directly into your face. When you are that close to a dying patient there is an intimacy that occurs that is beyond words. They look at you with fear and hope and you look back at them with love and compassion. You know and they know this could be the end for them. You give the magic sleep meds and their eyes close, and you quickly put the breathing tube in. Then it hits you that the last face this patient saw was yours…

the eyes are the gateway to the soul…

I got the COVID vaccine because I saw firsthand at the bedside the pain, the suffering and death of husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents…

COVID-19 does not discriminate…

I got the COVID vaccine to avoid being a carrier of this deadly virus to those I love…

I got the COVID vaccine to continue serving humanity…

Join us for a candid conversation about vaccine concerns in the Black community. This discussion, a collaboration between BlackDoctor.org and Cedars-Sinai, will explore the roots of vaccine hesitancy, as well as answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and community resources. Register here: Embracing Our Community: Live! (cedars-sinai.live)

EOC covid talk


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