Today, New York City’s stringent vaccine requirements are becoming even more stringent. Everyone aged 12 and over must show proof of full vaccination to eat in restaurants, go to the movies, work out in gyms, or attend any kind of indoor show.
For Beata Moon, a Queen’s-based composer, pianist and educational artist, that means she won’t be able to perform in February at Musica Reginae, a community concert space..
She can’t attend the March concert at Carnegie Hall, where she composed a pieceAnd Set the lyrics of people experiencing homelessness to music.
That’s because Moon, 52, was only partially vaccinated with a single shot of Moderna last March, which puts her far from New York City, where 4 out of 5 adults are fully vaccinated.
Now, amidst the astonishing spread of the omicron variant in the United States, there is a renewed drive to get the first, second and third doses in as many weapons as possible. Public health officials, clinicians, and scientists agree that vaccines remain our most powerful tool against severe disease and hospitalization.
“I – honest with God – believe it is your patriotic duty,” President Biden said in a speech to the omicron last week.
However, Moon says her mind has made a decision. You will not get a second dose.
Enthusiasm about the vaccine gave way to fear
Like many people, Moon was excited about the arrival of vaccines as early as 2021.
“My husband and I can’t wait to get it,” she says.
I got my first dose of Moderna in late March. But after two weeks, she started to feel sick – as if she might pass out. I wondered if it could be zoom fatigue. She moved her career online. She’s been teaching workshops and performing piano concerts in front of an iPad for months.
But after waking up one night feeling so dizzy and nauseous that she was afraid to fall, she went to urgent care, where she tested positive for COVID-19. I went home to quarantine.
For the first time in her life she started experiencing tinnitus or tinnitus. Slowly, it got better. And then, over the summer, the symptoms returned. The ringing in the ear was more pronounced: a high-pitched ringing sound, sometimes with a difference in volume.
Tinnitus, a common condition in normal times, has been widely reported after COVID-19
Tinnitus is a common condition. Each year, about 10% of adults in the United States have at least an episode of it.
In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, There were about 13,000 cases of tinnitus as of December 17, which are self-reported cases of patients and health care providers.
People who have contracted COVID-19 have also complained of tinnitus. In the UK, the National Health Service lists tinnitus as a common side effect of the long-term Covid virus. A review of the scientific literature published in the International Journal of Audiology found that tinnitus is a common, documented symptom among COVID-19 patients, with an estimated 14.8% experiencing it. The authors note the paucity of high-quality scientific studies on this topic.
Moon has some friends and family members who believe her tinnitus came from a bout with the COVID-19 virus, not from the vaccine. But she came to a different conclusion after hearing from an online community of people sharing accounts of severe reactions to vaccines.
“Because many others had similar – or even worse – problems after the vaccine, when they were otherwise healthy,” she says.
240 million people in the United States have been vaccinated, the vast majority of them without serious side effects
Her position was met with skepticism and hostility. In some ways, she understands why.
More than 240 million people in the United States have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The vast majority were fine.
“Honestly, if I hadn’t experienced this, I don’t know if I would believe when people say, ‘Oh, I really have these side effects,'” Mun says.
If it doesn’t happen to you, she says, it’s easy to label someone an anti-extremist or a conspiracy theorist.
In New York City, nearly everyone you know has been fully vaccinated. Some members of her family do not understand her decision. However, for her, it was settled.
She fears the vaccine will make her tinnitus worse, so she won’t get a second dose.
“I can’t take that risk,” she says. “As a musician, my ears are my life.”
Avoid crowded indoor spaces and large gatherings. You wear a mask when you are indoors with others.
Vaccine requirements may become more stringent when using Omicron
The irony is that the very thing Moon is trying to protect – her career as a musician – is what is held back by her decision not to get a second shot.
Even before today, New York City had some of the most stringent vaccination requirements in the country. As a freelance musician, Moon works with many organizations across the city, including as a teaching artist at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Watched one by one, they’ve enforced mandates for vaccines – to employees and also to the masses.
Beata Mun is not looking for sympathy.
“Fortunately, I had some virtual work, and not much was done in person,” she says.
But she wants people to stop judging her — to stop making assumptions. She hopes people will replace it with curiosity.
She also hopes there will be more research on natural immunity – what protection a previous COVID-19 infection might offer.
And she wants to rethink states, especially now that scientists say this coronavirus may never go away.
“It’s something we have to learn to live with and deal with, and so we need more nuance and flexibility,” she says.
It’s a tough time to make such an argument, as new cases are at record levels and more than 800,000 people have died in the United States alone from COVID-19. It also appears that things are going the other way.
New York Governor Cathy Hochhol, a Democrat, said she intends to introduce legislation to change the definition of “completely vaccinated” to include enhancers. With data showing that boosters significantly increase protection from the omicron variant, it’s an idea that’s rapidly gaining momentum nationwide.