25 January 2021
I received my first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 last week. A fellow physician from another location injected me at a hospital vaccination clinic. For some reason he avoided the bulk of my deltoid and aimed for the acromion, causing him to hit bone. I do not think he gives many vaccines where he normally works. One of my younger office colleagues pointed out that sometimes it is difficult to find the atrophied deltoid muscle of the withered elderly.
It burned going in, which I attribute to it not being room temperature. The next day I wondered if the vaccine had made me achy, but then I remembered that I am always achy. Apart from feeling like I had been punched in the arm for a few days, all is well.
I can already feel my DNA being altered and am hoping for either the superpower of being able to fly or become invisible at will (which would you choose?). As an aside, when I ask patients this question, almost every child wants to be able to fly, while most adults want invisibility so they can go where they should not. Regardless, I am doing well and am making friends with my new microchip. I am so glad they don’t have to monitor my cellphone anymore.
I was given the Pfizer vaccine, as were three of my office colleagues. My other three colleagues received the Moderna vaccine, so we are now divided into teams and are carefully watching each other. They must not have activated the chips yet because I still must speak out loud to converse with my fellow Pfizers.
In truth, I feel privileged to be in the first wave vaccinated against this horrible virus. I stand in awe of the science behind these vaccines and the collective effort that led to their speedy development. It is a testament to what can be accomplished when humankind works together.
I hope this spirit of collaboration continues throughout this vaccine rollout process. It will be March before this editorial is published, and I remain optimistic that by the publication date a mass vaccination program will have been outlined. There have been some missteps so far, such as wasted doses, supply issues, queue jumping, and lack of transparency. However, getting millions of doses into millions of arms on this scale is a challenge none of us has previously faced.
It is crucial that the vaccination process proceeds in an organized and speedy fashion if we are going to control this virus and allow life to return closer to normal. The longer the virus reigns free, the greater the chance there is for it to mutate and form a strain that is resistant to the current vaccines. Not only must the developed world be vaccinated, but efforts must be made to vaccinate poorer countries, both for humanitarian reasons and to ensure a large reservoir of potentially mutating virus does not exist.
There will likely be more bumps in the road as this mass vaccination program gathers speed. However, if we meet these adversities with patience and ingenuity, it is only a matter of time before this pandemic will be behind us.
Above all, remember to be kind, because I will receive my second dose in a few weeks and could be watching.
—David R. Richardson, MD
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