LOUISVILLE, Ky. — She received her first COVID-19 vaccine dose as soon as she could.
The pandemic has been a turning point for many Americans. It was for Louisville resident Lara MacGregor.
“In a weird way, I went into COVID this, like, healthy, happy person and I’ve come out of COVID pretty sick,” she said.
Seven years ago, Lara MacGregor was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. At this moment, the wife and mother of two is fighting through the most challenging chapter of her illness.
“I’ve endured, you know, progressive cancer treatments and therapies that have really made it feel like I really live in an alternative reality now."
MacGregor would admit she is physically weak and in many ways immunocompromised, though her will is strong. She has now dedicated what strength she has to encourage people not only to get vaccinated but consider getting a booster or third vaccine dose as she did.
“As someone who relies on science to help save my life . . . I say all the time I’m hanging on for science."
“Here we have a tool that can lower the severity of the disease, that can stop the spread, and it just baffles me that more people aren’t recognizing the significance," MacGregor told Spectrum News 1.
Sitting by her side, Dr. Beth Riley, of the Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, said the third dose is meant to help people like MacGregor, who have a weakened immune system due to her cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“The reason most of the population is recommended two shots was to prime the immune system and then to boost the immune system to a level of protection. In those patients who are immunocompromised, that level never reaches the same as somebody who is not immunocompromised. So the third booster, as it’s called, but really the third dose is aimed at increasing that level of protection, getting them to a level of immunity that patients without those conditions might have," Riley said.
Riley said side effects are possible.
"I've heard from a couple of them. Most of them did very well, not a lot of side effects. Some of them had the same level of side effects they had after the second booster so it's pretty varied but I find patients very willing."
Jay MacGregor said his wife, Laura, is the strongest person he knows.
“I look at each piece of it and what we’ve learned from Laura and what our boys have learned and how much they have matured and I think the compassion that Laura has provided or taught them over the years has really come out now," Jay MacGregor said.
Lara MacGregor said encouraging vaccination is about compassion.
“It’s a chance to show compassion to one another, and I am so grateful when people let me know they’ve decided to take the vaccine, and that they recognize it’s something they can do to help each other.”