… or something like that. By which I mean that I have had my first dose of the two-dose COVID vaccine, which gives me the dim but hopeful feeling that there is a future out there.
I was impressed with the speed and efficiency with which my health care provider (UCSF) managed the whole thing: found an appointment on line, finished a couple of pre-visit questionnaires and the inevitable boring stuff about insurance (even if the vaccine is provided free, they may charge to administer it), and on the day of all I had to do was show up with ID and wait in line for ten minutes. The nurse administering the shot was a pro, and the needle very fine, so the shot itself was negligible. The site itched a bit and was sore for about 24 hours–I’ve had allergy shots that were worse.
Now all I have to do is schedule the second shot, which I haven’t been able to do yet–I imagine UCSF (which has tens of thousands among their staff and patient rosters) is managing supply very carefully. I do worry about outreach to people who don’t have computers or are only slightly computer-literate, but I know that San Francisco, at least, is working on outreach to those communities (a friend of mine is part of one in the Mission District, and she is totally doing Good Work).
So I can imagine a day when, fully vaccinated, I can circulate freely among likewise vaccinated friends again, and boy howdy, am I ready for that. I do not believe it’s all going to go right back to the way things were. I’m going to be wearing a mask for the foreseeable when I’m out of the house, for one thing, because they don’t know how long the immunity conferred by the vaccine will last.* There is a possibility that COVID vaccination will become like the annual flu shot–boost that immunity and keep up with the mutations. If that is the worst that the future holds, I’m fine with it.
But of course, along with the people who believe COVID is a liberal myth, there are people who will refuse to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons ranging from the understandable (BIPoC who are suspicious of government/big Pharma outreach given the history) to the frankly idiotic (microchips! Bill Gates! George Soros!). I know that outreach is being done in communities of Color to allay that anxiety. For the tinfoil microchip crowd–I don’t know what can be done for them–except that they are forcing those of us who are willing and able to be vaccinated to be a bulwark, not only for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, but for themselves. They are clearly not willing to be a bulwark for anyone else.
One of the things to have come out of the last year is a pile of new tools and approaches which science has gained in getting us to the point where vaccination is possible. When the next pandemic arises (and it will, alas) we will be that much better at dealing with it.. If you want to hear the calm and experienced voice of reason I cannot recommend better than Dr. Anthony Fauci. Watching his “fireside chat” gave me the feeling, even before I got my shot, that we’re going to make it out of this.
* Given the breathtaking speed with which these vaccines were developed, of course they don’t. Without years to test, they looked for immediate efficacy and safety. Duration of protection is a question they’re going to be tracking for a long while to come.