Sunday, January 17, 2021

What the COVID-19 Vaccine Meant to Me

 Although I am not a front-line worker, I do interface with several dozen patients each week.  The COVID-19 metrics in Ohio are all coursing in the wrong direction.  Over the past few months, several staff at work and personal friends have contracted the disease.  I’ve had a few close calls with patients whom I learned after an office visit with me were infected.  Thus far, I’ve managed to dodge the virus.   What weapon have I used to repel the invader?  See photo below. 

Two weeks ago, I received my initial injection of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at my workplace.  I arrived at the appointed hour expecting to bare my upper arm for a quick puncture.  Not quite.  After entering the building, I was directed to the end of a long line which was trailing outside in the parking lot.  So, I took my place during the pleasant winter climate that all of us in Cleveland adore.

Once I advanced into the building proper, I discovered that the experience reminded me of Disneyworld.   I am not referring to costumed interpreters interacting with the crowd, or hearing ‘It’s a Small World’ piped in or a gift shop where I could purchase a Mickey Mouse doll with a facemask who blurts out ‘keep your distance’ if you cross the 6 feet barrier.  I am referring to the hidden winding lines that awaited all of us who were waiting.  As soon as we would turn a corner, another queue bank came into view.  Very clever.

Ultimately, I was face to face with a retired registered nurse who had come back into service to help the nation resist the virus.  After the inoculation of messenger RNA, I waited the required 15 minutes and then headed back to my car.

I’ve had dozens of vaccines throughout my life, but I will never forget this one.  It was an emotional experience as much as it was an immunological event.  There was a dreaminess about all of it.  There we were, there I was, participating in something so much bigger than ourselves.  The nation had been praying for a successful vaccine and scientists throughout the world broke all records and expectations and delivered.  And we represented the first steps back to normal life for everyone   

While vaccine distribution has been woefully inadequate, I hope that every arm who wants a vaccine, will receive one ahead of schedule.  The incoming Biden administration properly regards this as Priority 1.

So far, in the contest of COVID-19 vs Humanity, we are losing badly.  We will prevail.  Ultimately, the vaccine will vanquish the virus.  Until then, we must do everything to minimize our casualties.

As I reflect on 2020, our annus horribilis, the COVID-19 vaccines were the green shoots of renewal. We need to turn them into forests.







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