This is like gold,” the female vaccinator said with a smile.
It was a soothing smile, the kind that makes you feel as if you’re getting better already. It was a mom’s-chicken-soup-when-you’re-fighting-a-cold smile. A golden moment, for sure.
In fact, had the vaccinator offered me a choice — say, that first shot of vaccine she held just inches away, or a check worth five digits — I would have chosen the shot. Without hesitation.
Health is everything; the rest is gravy. It’s been my guiding principle for more than a half century. And it has served me well, especially on days when the big picture is blurred by the myopic distractions of everyday. Just bless me with good health. I’ll figure out the rest.
And with that first dose of “gold,” I was taking a major step in maintaining the good health I’ve enjoyed since COVID-19 invaded our world just over a year ago. Good fortune and following the guidelines — that is what has worked for me.
So, now here I was at Dover International Speedway, getting the first of two shots of the Moderna vaccine. It was an experience that reminded me how impressive Americans can be when we put our minds to it.
The operation was managed by state government in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). An inspiring contingent from Dover Air Force Base provided logisti-cal support. The entire process was run with the clockwork precision of Disney World. Twenty minutes, from arrival to the post-shot waiting area. I waited almost that long at Starbucks for my post-vaccine coffee.
In fact, as I exited the waiting area and made my way back north, I couldn’t help thinking about the team with whom I’d just interacted. Most seemed in their early 20s, a host of Dover Air Force Base personnel, for sure. Every facial expression conveyed reassuring diligence. Until I reached the vaccine tent. That is when the smile was added.
As I drove, I imagined the young airmen and airwomen back at their barracks, recounting the day together, perhaps sharing a beer. You know, we did good today, I pictured them saying. Indeed, they did.
Yet more good needs to be done. Not just by those working to administer the vaccines, but by us. Back in November, polls indicated 40% of the U.S. population would choose not to get vaccinated. Recent polls suggest that percentage has decreased to 30%. The magic number for vaccinations before we reach herd immunity and begin reclaiming our lives? Estimates range from 70-85%.
“We don’t really know what that magical point of herd immunity is, but we do know that if we get the overwhelming population vaccinated, we’re going to be in good shape,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, during a recent Senate hearing.
I trust Dr. Fauci. Not because I know him, but because he trusts science. And if we can’t trust science, well, we have a grim future. Even should we survive COVID-19.
But it isn’t just Fauci. There are thousands of brilliant scientists around the world saying the same thing right now: The COVID vaccines are safe and three are more than 90% effective. We would be wise to listen.
Why? Because scientists do the math that none of us were good at. They do the research. Follow the facts. Work the problem.
Then they share that data and empower us to take fact-based action. That is what happened that day in Dover. Fact-based action.
Throughout the process, no one asked me if I was for big government or small. Like an ER physician attending the victim of a heart attack, they simply worked the problem.
I recognize there are some who choose to avoid vaccination because of a bad personal experience. I respect that decision. However, for all our sake, let’s hope that percentage of the population is under 15%.
Because history shows that the development of vaccines is one of mankind’s “golden” achievements. But don’t take my word for it. Look it up.
— Jerry duPhily