So… today I got a vaccine… a vaccine that’s around 95% effective in preventing the disease if you take two doses. But no… it’s not *that* vaccine; this one is for shingles… what I guess you would call the adult version of chickenpox.
If you’re my age, you missed the existence of the chickenpox vaccine; it showed up a little too late in our lives. As a result, there’s a 99% chance you’ve had chicken pox, whether you know it or not. Indeed, chickenpox is so contagious that the plan as a kid was to get it over with asap. When a kid got chickenpox, the parents would hold parties for all the kids to get together, play and cough on each other, get sick, get better… and that would be the end of it.
It’s not quite the end of it, because once you’ve had it, the virus sticks around in your body… forever… and whatever immunity you built up as a kid eventually wears off, and the virus can kick back into gear, this time as shingles. I’ve known a few friends who’ve gotten shingles in recent years, and, quite simply… you don’t want to get it. It’s painful as hell. I will most certainly take two jabs and a swollen bump on my arm for a day or two… to go along with the 95+% chance that I won’t get shingles.
The nurse who administered the shot was very impressed with my informed questions, such as “This won’t give me autism, will it?“ and “I heard you can get Covid from vaccines… should I be worried?”
But seriously, she was greatly amused with my, “Can you give me the Covid vaccine while I’m here?” – she’s only heard that one 500 times in the last 3 days.
The sad part of it was a discussion comparing notes… what she hears for real, and what I read online. It’s an exercise of tremendous frustration. I’d assumed the vaccine would appear, everyone but a small fraction of crazy anti-vaxxers would get it, and this would all be over. That’s unfortunately turning out to be very short-sighted. The attitudes and behaviours needed to end this once and for all are nowhere near as prevalent as they need to be.
Similar to the chickenpox party I attended as a kid, a lot of people will be throwing Covid-19 parties this holiday season… though they don’t know it yet. How many mini-superspreader events will there be? How big can they grow?
Staggering to learn from genetic fingerprinting that it was only two people at a conference in Boston in late February that led to over 300,000 cases. It depends how you look at it, but you could argue that one person gave it to 245,000 people, and another gave it to 88,000.
Well, it had to start somewhere… but that was in the past, and, pandemically speaking, a long time ago. We’re in the here-and-now… and we’ve learned a lot during this time… so let’s worry more about ending it. We know exactly what we have to do. Hopefully enough people really understand what that means.
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