JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — While the governor continues to stress the importance of getting vaccinated to ensure the protection of ourselves those around us, a Jacksonville woman said she refused to get the COVID-19 shot for months.
But now, she's had a big change in opinion.
"It got closer and closer and closer to home for me and that's when it was a wakeup call,” Regan Featherston said.
Months ago, Featherston swore she would never get the COVID-19 vaccine, one of the countless Arkansans that was hesitant to do so.
But she was challenged when a family friend died from the virus, and then soon after her parents caught it.
"Like how I saw my parents, struggling to breathe. It took me to watch my parents suffer,” Featherston said.
She had her own theories about why the vaccine wasn't safe.
"Just all the information. Doctors, social media, people, stories, it was just confusing," Featherston said.
The misinformation she found online led to fear.
Featherston was terrified that what she was reading about side effects would impact her life as a mom and a wife.
But fear also led her to get the vaccine.
"Realizing what was actually happening and realizing how scary it could be if my son lost his mother," she said. “That was another factor.”
Featherston moved forward with getting her vaccine. She said her parents who also were against it prior to contracting COVID-19 now plan to do the same thing as soon as their doctors clear them.
"It is a living nightmare,” she said.
Featherston feels lucky her parents are overcoming COVID-19 with medication making them stronger every day.
She’s awaiting her second dose of the vaccine and hopes others on edge will think more about what's at stake before it's too late.
"This is the answer, and I didn't think I would ever say that, but I feel so confident in my decision. I feel protected and I feel like I've protected my family,” Featherston said.