May 14, 2021 Healthy Living

How a COVID-19 diagnosis changed one family’s mind about getting vaccinated

Shayna Leigh works as a CDPHP facilitated enroller, helping current and future CDPHP members with their enrollment questions. With three children at home, she has done what she can to protect her family during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve worn face masks, practiced social distancing, and despite wanting to see family, have even limited face-to-face contact as much as possible.

She and her family were also certain from the start of the pandemic – when vaccines were available, they weren’t going to get them.

That changed in March when Shayna’s husband, Al, came home from a shift at his job as an essential worker. By the time he walked in the door, he had a fever of 102 and felt ill. In the days to come, he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

 “My husband had a very hard time,” Shayna said. “The first eight days were the most stressful. His temperature spiked every six hours like clockwork. He was in constant pain from body aches. He felt weak. He had no appetite, but forced himself to eat because he couldn’t take medicine on an empty stomach.”

Shayna says after more than a week with these symptoms, they started to see that Al’s health was finally starting to improve. Along with the positive change in his health, another thing had changed, too. Both Shayna and Al decided they wanted to get the vaccine.

“I immediately changed my mind once my husband tested positive,” Shayna said. “The fear alone was enough to make me change my mind. I understand the hesitancy; I was on that same side. The stress of having COVID-19 in your home does not compare to the peace of mind that being vaccinated can offer.”

A COVID-19 diagnosis had plenty of impacts on her family. Her two oldest children stayed elsewhere while her husband was sick. Shayna and her 9-year-old daughter were at home and in quarantine. Shayna says she wasn’t sure if her husband’s condition was going to get worse, how long he’d be sick, or even if she and her 9-year-old daughter might wind up being diagnosed as well.

She hopes her story will help people who may think the vaccine isn’t going to help.

“The vaccine does not guarantee 100 percent that you will not catch COVID,” Shayna said, “but it is better protection than not being vaccinated at all, and being at risk.”

For more information about the distribution of vaccines in New York state, visit, and visit for information about the vaccines and how they can help. CDPHP members can find details about coronavirus coverage on our COVID-19 information and resources page.

Gregory Fry
About the Author

Greg joined CDPHP® in February 2018 as a communications specialist. Originally from Philadelphia, Greg moved to upstate New York in 2007, and married his wife, Julia, in 2013. For 12 years, Greg worked in radio and print journalism roles, and has received multiple state and regional broadcasting awards for his role as an on-air anchor, and for his coverage of breaking news. Greg also brings a background in working with nonprofit organizations, having served in various marketing and fundraising roles in the Finger Lakes.

3 Responses to “How a COVID-19 diagnosis changed one family’s mind about getting vaccinated”

  1. Elaine Hickey

    I don’t understand why someone who already had COVID-19 (the husband in this story, Al Leigh) would want or need a COVID-19 vaccine.
    Please explain.

    • Gregory Fry

      Hi, Elaine – COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to provide additional, longer-lasting protection beyond natural immunity, which has been shown to wane over time.

  2. Ro

    Gregory Fry,
    Could you site your sources please? I would like to see that study. How long does vaccine protection last? How long does natural immunity last?
    Thank you for your help.

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