-ny people asked , " doesn ' t she know about the Tuskegee study ?" while others insisted , she was a paid advocate or that she was a pawn used to force the vaccine on others . Sandra emphasized the fallacies in each of those accusations , offering , " I think I owe Pfizer for coming up with this vaccine so quickly that I can now feel more protected ." Then , with thoughtful deliberation , she continued , " Surely none of us know with or without the vaccine what will happen to us five or ten years from now , or even five days from now . Indeed , I don ' t know whether anything that happens could be vaccine-related or not , but I know what could happen to me if I get COVID . I have seen its impact up close ."
A Personal Decision in a Public Crisis
Although Sandra understands it ' s a personal decision , she also knows the virus is not going anywhere without action . So , Sandra encourages everyone still on the fence about vaccination . “ It ' s not over yet , and the data is there . We ' ve seen millions of people around the world dying from COVID . We ' ve seen our hospitals filled , running over . We ' ve seen what ' s happening in different parts of the world -- in some places , they were burning bodies because they couldn ' t keep up . We ' ve seen people gasping for air , trying to buy oxygen . We know what ' s happening right now with the deaths and the hospitals filling up and that COVID is not respecting whether you ' re rich or poor or wherever you live . It ' s across all countries and affects everyone , regardless of age , gender , or race . It does not discriminate .”
Sandra is aware that people have questions and believe they should have answers to their inquiries , but she cautions , “ Get your questions answered , from reliable and informed sources . If you ' re out there putting out misinformation , then you should stop it because it costs people ' s lives . We have to understand that COVID is real . I ' ve lived through it continue to see patients and treat patients who have COVID .
Our healthcare workers continue to go through trauma and suffering ourselves because we ' re still in a pandemic . It ' s not over yet . The only way we will get through this is to get serious about it and work together .”
Living What She Learned
Regardless of the demands of her profession , life ’ s challenges , and setbacks , Sandra doesn ’ t view her experiences as negative . For her , “ It ' s just a constant learning experience .” There is not one thing she can point to where she can say she would do it differently . “ I don ' t dwell on any of it as a negative . Instead , I look at each instance as an opportunity .”
Sandra acknowledges , however , that we all have had disappointments in our life . When pushed to share a disappointment , she clarified her experience as a failed relationship and her perceived impact on the guests who attended the destination wedding . “ I felt disappointed that the guest did not witness an “ until death do us part ” union . I felt like I was disappointing them . It came down to was two fantastic people who just didn ' t have the same goals . We each had our goals , and they weren ' t aligned , so it didn ' t work out .” Yet for Sandra , this was a learning opportunity , “ Every experience that I have adds to the fabric of who I am . It ' s just one of those things that didn ' t work out , and you have to learn your lessons . Get up , brush yourself off , and keep going .”
Sandra summed up her experience and decision , saying , “ At the end of the day , I know my strengths and my weaknesses , know when things are working and when they ' re not . I don ' t stay in situations and things where I ' m unhappy ; I can ' t do it . Everybody deserves to be happy and live their life to their full potential .” Although she believed it was all for the best , Sandra further clarifies that she didn ’ t take this decision lightly , emphasizing , “ I value truth . I accepted that life is short , it ' s fragile , and everybody deserves to be happy , live authentically , and explore their purpose .”
Humility and Vulnerability
While Sandra has earned enough letters behind her name , including her Doctor of Health Science ( DHSc ), two masters , a bachelor ' s , and an associate degree , she believes wholeheartedly that