stock vaccine

First vaccine?

Check.

Second shot?

Check.

Free to gallivant around the world?

Still checking, although that little “I’ve been vaccinated” card does feel like a passport to life. People are sharing pictures of their arms and that needle to freedom all over Facebook.

So far I don’t personally know of any holdouts, but I hear they are out there spreading misinformation and fear.

Yes, there are people who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Why?

Fear, ignorance or both. We tend to fear what we don’t understand.

But what we don’t understand can kill us. COVID has already killed more than half a million Americans and 2.9 million people worldwide in just a little over one year.

Every adult in America will be eligible for the vaccine by April 19. Our national recovery can finally spread faster than the virus.

Sadly, the misinformation is spreading, too. Facebook and Twitter are full of fake information about vaccines. It’s deadly.

Remember how measles was nearly eradicated? The disease was actually declared eradicated in the United States back in 2001. Then some parents refused to vaccinate their kids, someone got exposed to measles abroad and we ended up with 600 reported cases in 2014.

People once feared the smallpox vaccine.

Know anyone who has had smallpox?

Nope.

People once feared the polio vaccine.

Know anyone who has gotten polio?

Me neither. Thanks, science.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention credits a successful vaccination program for making the United States polio-free since 1979. Polio used to cripple some 35,000 people a year, children who ended up breathing in iron lungs and hobbling on withered limbs.

The decision not to vaccinate doesn’t just affect the anti-vaxxers. It affects us all and the people we love. We don’t want to see polio make a comeback or COVID keep killing the people we love.

Science is a good thing.

Science has kept us living much longer than our ancestors. I wouldn’t be here without it. If all those researchers and scientists hadn’t invented surgical techniques and chemotherapy drugs and radiation protocols, cancer would have claimed me back in 1998 or soon after. It would have killed many more people that you love, but science and medicine made many forms of cancer and other diseases treatable and curable.

I don’t have to understand how medicine works to have it heal me. I don’t need to know how Tylenol works to get rid of my headache.

As a good friend once reminded me, I don’t understand electricity, but that doesn’t mean I need to sit in the dark until I do.

Hit the switch. Take the shot.

My first shot was a breeze. Before the nurse slid the needle in my left arm, she said, “Wiggle the little toe on your left foot.” While my brain shifted focus from my arm to my foot to try to communicate to that little toe, the shot was done. I didn’t even feel it.

“You’re good,” I told her.

“I was a pediatric nurse,” she shrugged.

What, no lollipop?

It did hurt the next day. My arm felt like it had lost a fight to Muhammad Ali. I could hardly lift it. In a few days, the pain vanished.

I was halfway home. I couldn’t wait for the next shot. I was giddy thinking about all the things I could do again, all the friends and family I could welcome back into my life. Woo hoo.

The second shot didn’t hurt at all going in, but that night, every muscle in my body ached.

The next morning, I woke up with chills, fever, aches. I had cleared two days to get well. It only took one day. I spent it binge watching Netflix and woke up the next morning feeling great.

I did have one long-lasting side effect.

Gratitude.

Gratitude that I never got COVID and most likely never will.

Gratitude for all who did wear masks.

Gratitude for all who did stay socially distant this past year, who missed seeing their loved ones to help keep the virus from spreading to my loved ones and yours.

Gratitude for all who did get the vaccine.

But mostly, gratitude for all those who created and delivered and dispersed the vaccine, and for all the medical workers who risked their lives to cure those with COVID and to comfort those who succumbed to it.

Please be part of the solution.

Please get the vaccine.

Together, let’s kill COVID for good.


Connect with Regina Brett on Facebook at ReginaBrettFans. Listen to “Little Detours” with Regina Brett at reginabrett.com or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Disclaimer

Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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