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A moral duty: Heba Abbassy explains why she got the vaccine

Heba Abbassy  wearing a headscarf and face mask at her desk Heba Abbassy

As a member of the VCU Health Patient Experience team, Heba Abbassy works with patients from many clinical units. Heba recently received her second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here, and in the video below, Heba shares her thoughts on getting the COVID-19 vaccine.


Making the decision to get vaccinated was easy, Heba notes.

Now fully vaccinated and back at work at VCU Health, she said, “I think it's everybody's role to provide a safe environment to each other since we all live together. This is one world. This is one home. I think it's really, really important that we all just come together.”

Heba’s parents are at high risk of severe COVID-19, making Heba’s decision to get vaccinated personal. “This is one way I can protect them,” she said. “I can protect myself and I can protect everybody around me.”

Heba’s family is from Egypt, and she’s used to traveling back and forth to see relatives. Last summer she skipped going home because of the pandemic. Some of her relatives are elderly, and she worries she may have missed her last chance to see them. But she understands the need for caution and believes in doing her part to avoid catching and spreading the disease — especially to the most vulnerable.

“It's just hard that loved ones are passing away and we're not able to say goodbye, and children are suffering mentally and emotionally because they don't understand why they can’t go out and play with their friends or go visit a cousin. So, I think everybody is struggling one way or another, and I feel like if I can contribute, even if it's just one ounce, to this vaccine or to providing a safe environment, I'm going to do it. I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

Relatives uneasy with her decision

Some of Heba’s family advised her to wait awhile, since the vaccine was so new. They weren’t entirely convinced it was safe and effective. Spreading fear of the vaccine can be as lethal as spreading the disease, she stated.

“Everybody's just scaring each other. If I can take it, then I think you can take it too.”

By getting the vaccine, she hopes her confidence can spread as easily as other people’s worries.

Heba didn’t even feel the shot when she got it. And although she did experience side effects, they went away within a couple days. “But I'm still here,” she pointed out. “I'm vertical. I'm not horizontal.”

We must do what’s right

“There's nothing wrong with just doing what's right and doing what's best,” Heba noted. “It's our duty, every single person, to make everybody safe. You've got to wear your mask. You've got to wash your hands. You've got to make sure if you're sick to stay away from others. And if you have the opportunity to take the vaccine, take the vaccine. Other people do not have this opportunity. Stop the spread.”

For more information

To learn more about COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 news center. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, in particular, visit our vaccine page and sign up for vaccine email updates.