Getting the Shot

I started out the Year of the Virus as a doubter, dismissing the clarion cries of the various health organizations and the media as another over-reaction.   You know … like the panic over anthrax after 9-11 or over a looming radioactive cloud after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan.   I even asked my doctor what he thought.   Just another flu, he said.  I wasn’t an anti-masker but I was a no-masker, and I laughed at people debating how best to clean off groceries before bringing them into the house.   But I also kept a wary eye on the news and as the case count … and death count … grew, I swallowed my pride and admitted I’d been wrong (for the second time in 76 years).   So, my wife Muri and I began to take what we felt were reasonable precautions … masks in public, social distancing and, to some degree, social isolation.    And I followed the often contradictory news about the development of vaccines hopefully, wondering how my new home state of Utah would step up to the challenge of distribution.

Late in December, it was announced that the vaccine distribution would be done by the county departments of health, and so I added the Salt Lake County Department of Health to my list of sites to be checked each morning.  Eventually registration was posted to begin on January 5.  The online registration form required a lot of information, including that of my Medicare provider, so it took about fifteen minutes to complete it as I wondered how many spots are there available.  Finally, I clicked on SUBMIT and … wallah … NOTHING.  It just went back to the sign up page, where I noticed for the first time a small note:  It may take up to an hour to receive an email confirmation.   OK.   So I did Muri’s application and went on with my day.   Four hours later, I received an email confirming my appointment.  Four DAYS later, Muri still hadn’t been notified.   As it turns out, the SLC Health Department server had crashed during the day and many people were not notified.   The website give instructions for people who hadn’t been contacted and a week later, Muri had her appointment..

Last Saturday after lunch, I drove the massive Mountain America Exposition Center in nearby Sandy to get my first injection of the COVID vaccine.  Having watched the long lines and chaos at vaccination sites in other states, I wondered if this would be an all afternoon affair.   But the parking lot was mostly empty and there were no lines to be seen.   Inside the convention center, there were fast moving lines of three or four people at a half dozen station collection information and making sure I was me.  In twenty minutes I was done and walking back to my car.  Best of all, they scheduled my second dose while I was there.   I have to admit, my new home state of Utah … I was impressed at your efficiency.  Today (Tuesday) I still have a very sore shoulder at the injection site, but other than a few chills and some aches and pains the first day, I’ve had no side effects. And to  be truthful, at my age aches and pains are so common that they may have had nothing to do with the vaccine.  

So.  Afterthoughts.   Well, first off, I was much more nervous than I expected.  Between a lifetime of inoculations and years of donating blood and platelets, shots usually don’t bother me.  I suppose that after waiting for months to have a ticket back to a normal life, it was trepidation at finally punching that ticket.  I also was struck by the irony of an online-based vaccine distribution program being initially directed at a group (seniors) least likely to have an online presence or the ability to navigate the registration.  Hopefully, there are assistance programs I am unaware of.  Then there’s this: today as I was reading through my Facebook feed, I found a picture of a mass vaccination site in Texas.  The very first comment?   Does this work?  How many people will die from it?  Really?   I wondered … when Jonas Salk introduced his polio virus in 1954, were there people who didn’t trust the vaccine?   According to Time magazine, When Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine debuted its first mass inoculation against polio on this day, Feb. 23, in 1954, the only fear most parents felt was that it wouldn’t become widely available fast enough to save their kids.  The vaccine eventually nearly eradicated polio.  Here we are, 67 years later.   Older as a country but apparently not wiser.  Wouldn’t it be sad if ignorance keeps us getting this virus under control.   Vaccinate, people!


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3 Comments on “Getting the Shot”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    Well said OE. And I remember the other time you were wrong, back in 197x when you thought you were wrong, but turned out to be right!!

  2. Tee Says:

    I plan to get vaccinated just as soon as I’m eligible. I’ve never been a fan of needles but after everything we’ve seen and heard about this virus, after the months of isolation, I’m ready.

    More so than those who think it’s not well-tested and aren’t willing to take the risk, I’m baffled by the ones who think the vaccine is a hoax.

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