Evolution of opinion

Yesterday I got my first COVID-19 vaccination.  

Except for getting to downtown Chicago in a post-snowcopalypse world, the process went smooth as silk. 

  • Train delayed 20 minutes in sub-zero weather (No worries, I had shelter.  Only my patience got strained.)
  • Trained broke down and the power had to be cut.  And of course, that immediately made me realize I had to pee. (No worries, the conducter climbed under the train and fixed everything and I made it to the on-board restroom without a drop spilled.)
  • I made it to the hospital right on time.  (Good thing I gave myself an extra 2 hours to get there!)
  • No wait, easy check in, detailed information sheet, smiling nurse, just a tiny pinch, a 15-minute observation period, an appointment for injected #2, and I was on my way.  
  • Shoot!  No trains for two hours.  (No worries.  Burrito Beach’s burrito bowl called me over for lunch.)
  • Double-shoot!  Full train, with nowhere to go.  A frozen switch prevented all trains from leaving the station for an hour.  (No worries, I had a book to finish for Book Club.  And, I did.)
  • I made it home just in time for dinner and a Zoom Book Club. Whew!

A little more than a year ago, I thought “we got this.”  We know how to handle pandemics.  We avoided an Ebola outbreak, SARS never amounted to more than a scary threat.  We have experts.  We’re prepared.  I even have my own 10-year-old pandemic preparedness kit.  Let’s not panic.

I didn’t panic. I took precautions.  I jolted to attention. This is serious.

I heard about people dying. Then I knew someone who knew someone who got seriously sick and died.  Then I knew someone who got sick and died.  Then someone in my family got sick and developed serious side effects. I thought about polio and how long it took to irradiate it. But we did it (well, almost.)

Through it all, I shouted at the TV and blogged:

  • We’ve known for centuries that the best way to keep from getting sick is to stay away from sick people. Isolate, test, trace.  We’ve done it waay before there were slick technical ways to accomplish it.
  • Viruses aren’t smart.  All they “know” is how to reproduce.  Don’t give them the chance.
  • Viruses mutate.  All things with genetic code do.  It’s predictable. The only way to stop mutations is to stop reproduction. Mutations are random.  No! It’s false that viruses mutate in a predictable way: more contagious and less deadly. No!
  • No treatments are approved; no vaccines are approved. (Okay.  Now there are some approved.) FDA has only given Emergency Use Authorization.  Medical professionals and scientists are doing the best they can with the information they have.

Six months ago I would have told you “No way am I getting a vaccine.  This is new technology.  The vaccine is not approved.  I’m not going to be an unwitting part of the Phase III study.” So what changed my mind?

  • Data.  More and more data indicating that both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. Click here for more information on my data summary.
  • Data.  Over 60,000 people inoculated with mRNA vaccine. More people are vaccinated with the EUA vaccines.  Besides the expected side effects, all seems to be going well.
  • Data.  I got a chance to review the ingredients. Except for the mRNA, nothing that isn’t in other medicines.
  • Mom.  Yes, she still has enormous influence over me.  She’s almost the smartest person I know.  And if she can do it, so can I.  (Other family members also gave me a booster shot of courage, too.)

One other thing convinced me.  Not enough people listened to the four Ws:

Wear a mask

Watch your distance

Wash your hands

Work together.

As a result, the virus did what it does best. It reproduced.  And along the way, it mutated. The variants may be more infectious and more severe than what has already killed over two million people around the world.

I decided the risk to me is worth the benefit to all.  I’ll do my part to stop the pandemic.  It seems a bit patriotic to me. I want to be part of the solution. Will you?

My state has a long way to go. How is yours doing?