That morning neither The Hubby nor I needed the nudge of an alarm to spring out of bed. The excitement was energizing enough. I wore my good black slacks and pearl earrings, arranged a scarf around my neck. He abandoned his usual retiree attire of shorts and T-shirts and decked himself out in long pants and an oxford shirt.
We were ready for The Big Jab.
The Hubby got his first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine a few days ago, and both of us felt like we had won the lottery. Actually, it was better than that. Plenty of our friends who have reached the so-called golden age — the 65-and-over set — are still clicking away on different hospital and public health websites in hopes of landing an appointment.
“I’ll drive across the state if need be,” an acquaintance told us. “I’m so ready.”
With the supply of vaccines limited and the rollout hitting all kinds of stumbling blocks, scoring an appointment has been a game of luck and connections. When we got a call from a friend who had heard registration had just opened at the local public hospital, we both hit our respective computers with the zeal of missionaries. We tried and tried and tried, until I finally managed to get in, keying in his information with such alacrity that my high school typing teacher would’ve beamed with pride.
Once the appointment confirmation was printed, we performed a little celebratory jig. I wished aloud I could join him in that club of the vaccinated. With the exception of that silly, innocent period in childhood when kids give their age in quarters and halves, I’ve never before wanted to be older. That day I most certainly did.
The speed with which brilliant scientists developed the two — count ’em, two — first vaccines for the scourge that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans is nothing short of miraculous. It truly underscores what can be done when great minds and good money get together. Yet, in my daily dealings with friends and family, I am constantly batting down misconceptions, even outright fear. Of course questioning should be encouraged — as a journalist I know that better than most — but the conspiracy theories I’ve been told are so far-fetched, so wrong, so dangerous that I want to pull my hair out, strand by strand. The pain would certainly be less agonizing.
A couple of months ago, as Pfizer and Moderna inched closer to requesting emergency government approval, I wrote a 1,500-word freelance piece on messenger RNA vaccines. I had to brush up on my biology, but once I understood how mRNA works, how clinical trials were conducted, and how the process was rigorous and super stringent, I marched out of my home office to make an announcement.
“The first chance we get, we are lining up for the shot,” I told my audience of one, The Hubby.
Several polls, though, have shown an alarming percentage of the population saying, “no, thank you.” I’m flummoxed by the distrust, frustrated by the refusal of some to learn the science. So, in my own way, I’ve decided to become an evangelist for what promises to be a way out of this horrific pandemic.
I preach the gospel of the shot. No, the vaccines don’t give us a free pass yet. We still have to reach herd immunity, which means at least 70% of us have to get vaccinated. But we can do this. We can, we can, and we should.
That is why I dressed up for The Big Jab. That’s why The Hubby, who is no fan of selfies, asked one of the health care workers at the clinic to do the honors of capturing the historic moment. And that’s why, when slots open for the rest of us, I’ll pull out all the stops to nab a vaccine appointment.
I’ll wear that Band-Aid on my arm with pride.
Ana Veciana-Suarez writes about family and social issues. Email her at email@example.com or visit her website anavecianasuarez.com. Follow @AnaVeciana.