In seven days I’m golden.
That’s because thanks to a date on the calendar I officially cross from an ineligible group to an eligible group when it comes to being eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rest assured one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked in the past four months or so is whether I will get a COVID-19 shot.
I haven’t exactly dodged the question but I’ve never give a straight up “yes” or “no” answer.
Do I have reservations? Let’s put it this way, we all should be cautious about what we interject into our bodies. That said if you bothered to read the labels on half of the processed food we consume you should be more worried about what that stuff will do to your long-term health when it comes to side effects. It is especially true given among those groups that are most at risk from COVID-19 are the obese and those who are diabetic.
I am not a science denier. Nor am I on edge about contracting COVID-19. I do not believe I am immune from it and the possibility of a bad to absolute worst case scenario if I do become infected. I also observe most COVID-19 protocols from mask wearing to social distancing. I say most because I fall far short from what a lot of people do that are constantly using hand sanitizer.
Whether that is bad or not, I definitely do not make light of people that do religiously use hand sanitizer.
I have gotten two flu shots in my life. The second one was back in August. I did so out of a two-edged sword of sorts when it came to my concerns. Although I’ve had the flu once in my life — a mild case at that — I wasn’t driven by a fear of getting the flu. Rather I wanted to reduce my chances of getting symptoms that are attached to both the flu and COVID-19. The reason was simple. I would be sidelined regardless of which disease I actually had. At the same time I didn’t want to create a potential burden for the health care system that was prepping for a major crisis.
I am not against vaccinations. I nag my healthcare provider to make sure I’m current with my tetanus shot. Between chance and some of the things I do, I determined a long time ago that I have an elevated risk of contracting tetanus.
As a kid I got all of the prescribed shots including swallowing the infamous polio sugar cube. I was a little kid when the last surge of polio swept through the United States in the 1950s. Growing up I developed friendships with perhaps a half dozen people over the years that suffered from mild — a permanent and painful hobbling when they walked — to fairly serious consequences such as the loss of movement in both legs.
It is why it didn’t take too much convincing back as a relatively newcomer to Rotary in the mid-1980s for me to part ways with $1,000 over the course of several years to help Rotary International’s relentless drive to eradicate polio worldwide.
Watching video clips of mothers in remote areas of Third World countries walking for two days to PolioPlus vaccination clinics so they could protect their child from becoming a cripple or death drove home the point that we take way too much for granted when it comes to our healthcare access and system in the United States.
Yes, the polio vaccines are not 100 percent free of backfiring. But given at its zenith in the 1940s and 1950s polio was killing or crippling more than 500,000 people worldwide in an annual basis gives you a lot of perspective.
The peak year, by the way, for polio in the United States was 1952. There were nearly 58,000 cases with almost all having lasting effects in addition to 3,000 deaths.
I do not make light of anyone’s reservations about the COVID-19 vaccine. There are more than a few healthcare professionals not thrilled about the compressed study period when it comes to potential side effects. It also didn’t help that politicians opposed to Trump undermined confidence in the relative warp speed of the vaccine development. It got to the point that even Gov. Newsom — who was the savviest among Democrat state governors when it came to not poking Trump in the proverbial eye — said he would require independent testing by California before he would allow the vaccine to be used in the Golden State.
There were never independent tests done by California. The point is politicians, depending upon their persuasion, invested a lot of effort into either pooh-poohing the pandemic or undermining the public’s confidence in vaccines being developed on Trump’s watch.
So will I get a COVID-19 shot?
The answer is a qualified “yes”.
I say that because simply turning 65 in seven days doesn’t magically increase my risk any more than it is today.
There are also people between 16 and 64 who reside in San Joaquin County with underlying medical conditions who there is no doubt in my mind have a more serious exposure level to bad outcomes from contracting COVID-19 than I do.
The county is currently allowing healthcare providers to use their judgment as to who under 65 with underlying conditions can get the shots on a case by case basis. But to be honest I fully intend to wait until those with no underlying conditions between the ages of 16 and 64 are eligible for shots until I join the mad scramble.
And even then I’m likely to wait until everyone isn’t storming websites and such to get in line for a shot.
Is that creating a risk for me? Perhaps, but I have a hard time putting myself ahead of others who have much more anxiety and concerns than I do. Again, this is not about dismissing the seriousness of COVID-19 nor is it me trying to tell myself I’m bulletproof. I’m not.
But in the overall scheme of things some people have be toward the end of the line. And it’s best that they are the ones with less health issues and lower anxiety levels.
We all should get the shots in due time much in the way we get tetanus shots.
That, of course, is me speaking. I’m neither a medical professional or the webmaster of a site focusing on finding demerits, real or otherwise, when it comes to the COVID-19 shots or being all consumed about the politics of the pandemic
One last thought.
Those who line jump by lying about meeting their qualifications to get a COVID-19 shot even though they are part of a group that is considered less at risk do indeed have an underlying condition.
They have no heart.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org