Getting COVID vaccine has become something of a test.
My first shot wasn’t until this past Friday, so obviously I lost the race. Most everyone I talk to had their shots weeks ago.
In late December the news was full of images of politicians, celebrities and other more-than-equal personalities “setting an example” by being first to take the vaccine. I’m sure they meant well (don’t they always?) but jumping ahead of the most vulnerable—i.e. nursing home patients and health care workers–struck me as insensitive.
On the day that COVID vaccine eligibility was lowered to age 65, I went online to set up my appointment and was assigned to get my first dose on Feb. 26. That was before I’d been outdone by most everyone else in my age bracket.
As if I should be shamed for not getting in line sooner.
And then along came the anti-vaxxers.
For weeks, an acquaintance barraged me with emails warning me of the dangers of COVID vaccine. It’s not thoroughly tested, she said. Taking the shots was taking my health into my own hands, which was true. Every day that went by without being vaccinated, I was indeed taking my health into my hands.
But everyone can’t know as much “science” as an anti-vaxxer..
After a while, I told the email lady to please stop. I’d signed up to take the shot.
The fact is, she and anyone else over 65 should remember the polio days of the 1950s—the children using crutches and wearing leg braces. I know I do.
I was reared by parents who considered it unacceptable to not take advantage of modern medicine that’s available.
My mother dragged us to the doctor’s office each spring for our polio shots. Yes, this is how we were immunized in the days before sugar cubes in little paper cups. Real shots; real needles. Every year.
My Dad was all in with Mom when it came to vaccines against polio or any other childhood disease. Not one to mince words, he had something to say about parents who failed to get their kids vaccinated. Such people ought to have their rear-ends kicked.
When the time came for swine flu shots in 1976, I was in line with my Dad and my brother. Refusing the vaccine was never considered. I learned a valuable lesson from Dad. He contracted malaria while traveling in Mexico. The recurring illness was something he would have surely avoided had there been a preventive readily available.
Later, his brother was hospitalized with typhoid fever because he failed to be inoculated before traveling to South America. Skip your shots at your own peril.
Over the years I’ve taken tetanus boosters and DPT and hepatitis shots. I’ve taken typhoid shots, malaria meds and cholera injections and been re-vaccinated against smallpox before traveling to sketchy destinations.
I’ve taken an annual flu shot and had two rounds of shingles vaccines. Not that I enjoy being a human pin cushion, but I like that more than getting sick.
Which brings me back to COVID. The shots have become political, which is a shame. President Trump bent the rules last year to get the vaccine rolled out in record time, but anything associated with Trump is suspect. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. has been back on the stump, leading protests railing against the vaccine and big pharma, like he does with every vaccine.
Meanwhile, some anti-COVID vaxxers assume we are morons. That shot will change your DNA, they say. Which got me to thinking. Could my blood type change? How about my eye color? Might I morph into a size petite? Wake up as a man? Who knows?
Others insist that the COVID vaccine causes infertility, but I’m not fazed. I don’t plan to start another family in my retirement.
And then there are the government conspiracy theorists. The other day my brother told me he’d had his second shot. You know, he said, the one where the government puts that microchip tracker into your arm.
Of course he was joking. We were raised by the same parents.
IMAGE: CDC Public Health Image Library