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'If You Don't, You'll End Up Killing Yourself': Maryland Coronavirus Survivor, Once Vaccine-Hesitant, Speaks Out

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Joy Curbean-Johnson initially did not trust the COVID-19 vaccines. She worried about side effects after a friend had an adverse reaction.

"I just felt it was happening too fast. How do we have a vaccine that quick? And I just was against it," Curbean-Johnson said.

But as she saw cases rise, Curbean-Johnson said, she decided the time was right to get vaccinated. And she's glad she did.

"Increasingly, it was going up so high and so quickly with people like me who were not vaccinated, I knew that it was time," she said. "My question to myself was, 'What could I possibly lose?'"

Curbean-Johnson, who works in human resources at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is also a coronavirus survivor. She got sick along with several members of her family earlier this year.

"I had had enough of COVID from deaths, being sick. Unless you went through it, you can't even describe it," she said. "It's a very, very scary and lonely experience."

She even had what are called "COVID toes" where circulation is cut off because of blood clots due to the virus. Curbean-Johnson needed several stents and luckily did not lose her toes.

She praised her co-workers, friends and family for their support. "It was one of the most scary experiences but you found out who loves you," she said.

Curbean-Johnson said she believes any side effects from the vaccine pale in comparison to the pain of fighting COVID-19.

"In these days and times, the way you can make a difference is to get that vaccine. If you don't, you'll end up killing yourself or killing someone else," she said.

In Maryland, vaccinations are increasing: 79% of adults have now received at least one shot.

More than 10,000 people got their first dose in the past 24 hours.

Health officials are bringing the vaccine to them, including at a Friday clinic at the National Aquarium.

"The aquarium is a family-friendly location. We know that young adults will be here and parents will be bringing their children and their families," said Dr. Kendra McDow, the Baltimore City Health Department's chief medical officer.


As cases have risen, Maryland's House Speaker Adrienne Jones is urging Gov. Larry Hogan to renew the state's health emergency—saying it is needed to take quick action if things get worse.

More businesses are taking action. Rams Head Live will require proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.

Metro Gallery, a live music venue in Baltimore, is postponing its reopening until the surge in cases abates.

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