To take it or not? This is the question that has spun through the minds of some people I know from the minute development was deemed to be at warp speed, when Pfizer stock spiked and dropped, when Moderna stock chugged nicely up and when my own bank presented a webinar with a representative from the ever up and down (mostly down) AstraZeneca.
The horse race had one vaccine at 90% effectiveness, then another at 95%, then from over in Russia—wham, warp, done—100%. The UK authorised Pfizer before the USA, jumping into the fray and the very real desire to make its citizens safe.
Can’t wait to see… Vaccine Wars in some future point. (Maybe with virologist Elle Fanning, in her pyjamas, taking the call, making critical decisions, while buttering toast before driving the kids to school, phone hands-free, tucked under her chin, of course? “Let me see. Vectors. How many?”)
With over 20 million folk vaccinated here in the UK, we seem to be reaching a milestone, and I for one reached my own milestone in just jumping in and becoming part of that herd mentality—sorry, I mean herd immunity. I weighed the pros and cons. I kept having this recurring thought: Give unto Cesar what is Caesar’s. What that means I am not fully clear, but felt that the Covid-19 was if nothing else physical, and whereas I do believe strongly in a connection between the mental, physical and (dare I say it?) spiritual, when given the opportunity, why not work all three levers at once?
I felt infinitely safe in isolation and for the most part lockdown was about pacing myself, but on the other hand, my bubble consisted of folk who felt invincible and quite enjoyed a sneeze the size of my dining room while interfacing with God Knows Who, God Knows When, God Knows How. So in the end I thought I should protect myself from, and for, my bubble folk. I felt also, to some degree, that I was missing the party, and it turned out to be just that: a love-fest, with plenty of merrymaking. Thank you, NHS!
My invitation came swiftly after the preceding at-risk groups were inoculated with their first dose, and the booking couldn’t have been easier, all done online. In fact, I left the NHS operator hanging while I said, “Heck, this is just like 1, 2, 3. I can do it on my own.” It happened to be one of the first really spring-like days with the sun shining when I arrived at the Kassam Stadium (dress code: mask) at precisely 2:30 for my 2:45 jab. Like clockwork (with proffered hand sanitiser), I ran the gauntlet of NHS staff asking name, number and if I had any underlying conditions.
Ushered on to the brightly coloured footprints to the next station, I was asked even more questions before being asked if I was happy to carry on, which I was. I then turned round to where the joviality and kindness superseded my imagination. Once again, but this time seated, I was asked all the same questions, with all the same answers duly noted, and my nurse, originally from Kenya, smiled broadly and gave me the life-saving stab—whoever’s life that might be. That was the point and the reason I finally succumbed to patriotism and went for the whole enchilada, took the vaccine. If a herd mentality—sorry, immunity—saved others, along with me, then why not?
I can still hear more than one friend screeching, “…but they haven’t yet even tested it on rats.”
I live in England, the home of the original vaccination, and we all know that story. If you haven’t read about it in the plethora of vaccination articles, podcasts, etc., it’s very simple. In 1796 Edward Jenner, an English country doctor living in rural Gloucestershire, developed the preventive treatment for smallpox. When he noticed that milkmaids (where would we be without our milkmaids?) who contracted cowpox didn’t get smallpox, he deduced that a tiny dose of smallpox might give some sort of immunity, which turned out to be true. After scratching a young lad’s arm with a bit of pox, the boy bounced back. From that humble beginning began the whole lifesaving history of immunisation, from polio to typhus, and now Covid-19.
My thoughts? Why not? Roll up your sleeve, take the scratch, get the pox.
Then hang out in your car, in the parking lot, as I did, basking in the sunshine, for ten minutes—giving unto God what is God’s. Thanks.