Dave and I just got our fourth coronavirus vaccine. It was fun. I’d get one every month if I could, and ice cream afterwards. It’d be a whole thing. At this point my only side effect is a conviction, late in the day, that I should maybe go to bed early, and not feel too bad about it.
Here’s the thing. There’s something about the big pushback against vaccination in this country that makes me want to get All The Vaccines. Is there a vaccine for erectile dysfunction? I want it. I’ve never suffered from erectile dysfunction—mine anyway—but the point of vaccination is to be on the safe side.
I don’t think I’ve ever said No to a first date with a vaccine, but I’m not certain what-all I’ve been vaccinated against. Polio for sure, because my father thought one child with polio in the family was plenty. He was old-fashioned that way: they said this thing could prevent polio and he was all Sign us up and never once thought that the Deep State, which was not a thing then, or now, was trying to pull something over on him.
I know I got a tetanus shot every so often, and pneumonia, flu, shingles, coronavirus.
There are a lot more available but for a lot of them I just went ahead and got the disease. I didn’t have anything better to do, except fourth grade. Chicken pox was a snap. I never had a fever or felt sick although I did have some itchy pox, which the doctor figured was poison ivy. I was already renowned for my exuberant reaction to poison ivy. Then he cleared me for summer camp. Sorry, fellow Luther Leaguers.
Measles was not a snap. I had a horrendous fever and nightmares that I now recognize in most descriptions of near-death experiences, especially the ones involving a tunnel, and forget about the light at the end of it. Not for this kid. And I did go to church at age eight, so that light should’ve been there, if there’s anything to it.
I knocked Mumps off the list as an infant. I was sort of a round baby anyway so I’m not sure how they could tell. Maybe I finally quit squeaking for a gol-durned minute.
Half the people upset about vaccines would mainline an untested vaccine against hair loss. But a lot of folks have lots of reasons to hesitate getting vaccines or reject them outright. All of them are stupid. Out of charity, let’s pretend the antecedent in that sentence is “reasons” and not “folks.”
For instance, many people think our salvation via solid science came a little too fast for comfort. I get that. I too would much prefer to slog on for another year in terror before getting my vaccine, just for the pure hell-and-damnation purity of the thing. I have a naïve tendency to believe people do not mean me harm, and I might as well start correcting that by distrusting the CDC scientists and signing on with Q-Anon. Maybe I should have let my body have a crack at that virus on its own.
But if the development was fast, it wasn’t really rushed. There had been some amazing discoveries about bacterial RNA and the possibilities for immunology were ready to roll years ago—this pandemic was utterly anticipated—and as soon as they had the map to this particular virus genome it was all zip bam boom. Two days. Maybe it would have been reassuring if they’d double checked everything using long division on lined paper with a sharp #2 pencil, and sent the results to the CDC by mule, but it was considered prudent at the time to quell this sucker before it spored off with new variants. Which might have worked if everyone had rolled up their sleeves, the way people used to do when a compelling mutual interest was involved, but these days people don’t like to be told how to roll. So now we’re stuck with this thing because too many people didn’t want to be stuck with the other thing.
And then people said it hadn’t been properly tested. I don’t know what they’re saying now that literally billions of people have been inoculated, and we’re neck deep in good data, but nobody likes to give up a good crotchet.
And then there’s Bill Gates. Can’t trust that dude. Who uses their wealth for world health when they could just as easily buy yachts with it? It’s not natural. Redundant yachtage, now that makes sense. So hang that guy.
Americans prefer to make up enemies rather than fight the ones we have. It’s easier to pretend we’re threatened by government workers and smarty-pants scientists and desperate Mexicans and mouthy Black people than it is to fight climate change. Seems like there couldn’t be a connection, but there is. Those who aren’t done wringing all the money out of fossil fuel extraction can manufacture as many irrelevant enemies as they need to manipulate the people. Zip bam boom. Half of us will fall for it every time.
So tell me. Is there a vaccine you don’t want to get? I’ll get it for you, and send you a nice bouquet of thoughts and prayers.
And it’s so easy to get a shot nowadays. I’ve gotten vaccinated at the drugstore, at the supermarket, and at the drive-through vehicle emissions testing station. Maybe soon it will be really convenient to get it at the medical marijuana dispensary. Just sayin’. Peace out.
Some day they’ll schedule a truck to drive by everyone’s house slowly on alternate Wednesdays and fling us a dart from the street.
Hear ye!! Love that last line. Nailed it!! Got my fourth shot at the end of March, and still masking at the grocery store, FWIW. Stay healthy, you kids. xoxo jz
I think I’ll be masking in stores forever. I have rather enjoyed two solid years without so much as a cold.
Oh yeah. Oh yay.
I agree! My mom hauled us in for typhoid shots every summer because we water skied in a local lake. I didn’t like shots but I sure loved the freedom to be out and about.
You in ‘Murrica? I never heard of anyone getting typhoid fever here. Hmm.
One of the reasons I was vaxxed AND boosted (besides not wanting to come down with Covid) was to not have to wear those goddamn masks. I only wear them now at my local farm market. (Ruth’s mom is in her 90s, and Ruth worries… so I can certainly strap one on for the 5 minutes it takes to get my produce.) The way I see it, if the science works, we don’t need to wear them. And if it doesn’t, a “face diaper” is not going to save you. I’m certainly not going to wear one to protect those who are averse to getting vaxxed. Maybe we NEED a little more chlorine in the gene pool.
I wear one in stores not because I’m too worried about getting COVID myself–if I do, it’s likely to be mild–but because I have people I see often who really must not get COVID and haven’t been helped by the shots. So I don’t even want a mild case.
That’s my attitude. I understood that masking primarily protects others who are around the mask wearer, and not the mask wearers themselves, so much. (At least in the case of the ubiquitous blue paper masks that are essentially free.) In that sense, they are not like motorcycle helmets, even. The failure to get this idea across (which for some reason is so-oo difficult) is what is giving the “rugged individualists” permission to walk around during a pandemic without regard for others in their own society, their own neighborhoods.
Weirdly, they have been persuaded that their vaunted personal liberty is at stake. It’s an ethic designed for toddlers.
Compelling mutual interest …ah, yes. Those were the days.
Yeah. Rugged Individualism works GREAT in a populated country.
Must have let down my guard, contracted Covid 4 days after getting my second booster. Feels like a bad cold, making me realize how long it has been since I was sick! I will feel bad if anyone caught it from me. No idea where I got it.
I’m so sorry. It’s happening all over but at least it isn’t existentially scary for those of us who aren’t otherwise compromised or refuse to vaccinate. I hope you feel better soon. I know I’m not as careful as I had been (I let people in my house although it doesn’t amount to a lot of people–repair people, that sort of thing–and so I would probably be able to come up with a reason if/when I get it.)
I’m supposed to get #4 next week which should get me through the summer if that ever gets here. I’ll see how far I can get playing scrabble on my phone for the 15 minute wait afterward. If I remember where it is in the phone.
They didn’t even make us wait fifteen minutes this time. They said if we haven’t keeled over the first three times, we’re good to go!
I’m with you, Sign me up for them ALL! The Man and I are getting No. 4 now that I’m almost 3 Months out from me having had The Rona, he so far has evaded getting it, and being the most vulnerable amongst us, who knew he’d be either damned Lucky or have some mysterious Natural Immunity to it? Americans mostly botched the whole Pandemic mitigation thing, weren’t even disciplined enough to wear a Mask to Save themselves… and of coarse as a Collective our Nation has become spoiled and egocentric so any perceived minor inconvenience is met with resistance. I’m putting off my 2nd Shingles Vax since that first one hurt like Hell, who knew? I’ll have to suck it up and get it this week tho’.
I got the first shingles vaccine when I was 55 because I enrolled in a double-blind trial for people in their fifties, and subsequently found out I got the real deal. However, they’ve made a better one since then. No one at Kaiser seems to be telling me I should get it. I’m used to them telling me what I need rather than pushing it myself–all their info is so consolidated that the janitor could probably tell me I was due for a tetanus booster.
I’m with you on getting all the vaccines I can when they are available. I’m due for my second booster in 16 days and will probably get my annual flu shot at the same time. I anticipate a lot of napping for a day or so following those. I’ve heard bad things about the Shingles shot, but getting Shingles is worse they say, whoever “they” are, so I’ll get that and the pneumonia one, but after August, because when you turn 70 here, those shots are free.
Ah, interesting! I was thinking “We don’t get flu shots till October” and then realized you’re on the bottom right half of the world.
Tell ya what…it was much better than going down that worm drench or household chlorine route!
Back in the “dim ages” I couldn’t travel the world , nor did I want to, without yellow fever, small pox. typhoid.TB stamps in my passport. And let’s not forget polio. Boy! That one came close to home in the 50s.
Came way too close to OUR home. As in: “in.”
Fully Vaxed here. Being one of those kids in the 50s who had all the viruses prior to immunizations being available. Thoughtfully sharing them with my family, mumps put her in the intensive care unit, almost killing her.
Masks work; the correct ones for the task. Still wearing mine always when around others and will continue to.
Seems a lot of my “fellow citizens” have forgotten that responsibility goes hand in hand with personal freedom.
Don’t want shots? Stay home!
Thanks for a well thought out & articulated post.
Himself & I will get #4 when we’re eligible next week, and hope today’s Moderna news for the <6 year olds works out.
A shot I don't want? All I can think of is rabies, since that implies contact with the wrong critter as well as multiple shots!
There are immunocompromised people in my circle whose freedom has been considerably curtailed by all those freedom-lovers. Thanks for nothing.
I wear my mask for the others more vulnerable. Had a discussion with bible thumper anti vaxxers and asked em “ what would Jesus do? “ No reply. And they never got the shots. And sadly I have had virtually no contact with them.
I just thought of a very naughty answer to WWJD but it’s too disrespectful even for me.
At a relative’s Christmas party (which I did not attend), everybody was fully-vaxxed and recently tested. Nonetheless, 11 of 17 caught covid there. I’ll still wear a mask. It’s not foolproof, but it’s an additional layer of protection, and that’s supported by mountains of evidence. “Face-diaper” my ass!
Remember that the definition of “libertarian” is “one who believes that ‘freedom’ and ‘freedom to destroy’ are at all times and under all circumstances totally indistinguishable.”
I hadn’t heard that but it sounds right to me. Toddlers, all.
We’ve had all four shots. The last one I had no side effects. We’re flying home to Seattle tomorrow after six months in Tucson. Wearing our N95 masks.
your article amazing