*To those of you who, for whatever reason, refuse to get the Covid vaccine: I know exactly where you’re coming from. I may not know why you don’t want to take the shot, but I certainly can relate to your vehemence at not taking it.
My own disinterest in vaccines didn’t start with the pandemic. For years, with my doctors I played a game–the one where, during an exam, they’d read my medical chart, note that I hadn’t been given this or that vaccine, and ask if would I like to receive it now. To which I’d sheepishly reply, “No, not this time,” or “Not now.”
Each time I was offered the flu vaccine, for example, I declined. It’s the FLU. I’d had the flu before, what’s the big deal?
So, when Covid-19 hit and the CDC began talk about a vaccine, as I vacillated with friends over whether or not we’d take the shot when it became available, privately, my plan was clear. I’d do with the Covid vaccine what I did with other vaccines—let the rest of the nation get vaccinated (continue wearing my mask and distancing), and watch Covid, like the flu, fade into normality.
By the way, my eschewal of the vaccine had nothing to do with fear of being injected with microchips, dark state directives or anything Tuskegee, including diabolical Negro medical experiments, Airmen or Commodores.
Yes, I was concerned that there hadn’t been more testing of the vaccines. Mostly, though, there was no more to my opposing the vaccine than a really stupid strain of hubris: Even though I knew this disease was bad—really bad—I relished the idea of one day being able to say I got through the pandemic without taking The Shot.
My silly intention was disrupted by televised horror stories of exhausted, frightened health care professionals, and Covid victims themselves, whose unsettling testimonies bordered on the macabre: People coming down with what amounted to the flu on steroids before ending up in a hospital’s intensive care unit on a ventilator, often the last effort to save them. Without the ability to breathe, patients basically suffocate to death.
According to the science, even a mild version of Covid-19 could leave you a “long hauler”—a patient who, after officially recovering, experiences assorted virus-related maladies for months afterward. I didn’t need to hear anymore.
In early February I received the Moderna vaccine at a local L.A. CVS. A month later I got the second shot, same location.
A couple of weeks before my first Covid shot, at my doctor’s direction, and because it’s still infecting people, I also took the flu shot—which I could almost hear snickering as it coursed through my veins, teasing me for assuming that I could skip over it for the new, Big Time vaccine in town. (Strike that. I’m kidding. The flu vaccine did NOT snicker. It did NOT tease me. Vaccines don’t tease or snicker. Not trying to start any anti-vax kookiness here.)
Months after getting the vaccine, I still don’t glow in the dark. I’ve yet to grow a third leg, and in public I’m not approached by mysterious strangers addressing me as “Kenneth” and inquiring about frequencies. According to health care officials, a booster shot appears imminent. I’ll take that one, too.
Right now a deeply divided America can agree on two things: We all want to stay healthy, and we anxiously look forward to a solid, consistent re-opening of the country. We seemed headed in that direction a few weeks ago. Then came the Delta variant.
Science tells us that a person who hasn’t been vaccinated can spread the virus, enabling it to mutate into other, more powerful variants. If everyone—or even most of us—gets vaccinated, the virus has no way to grow. Wanna destroy Covid’s ability to shut down your neighborhood, your city and your state? Get vaccinated.
I’ve heard some stunning reasons why people won’t get the vaccine. The one I find most offensive: The idea that emerging mandates on mask-wearing and vaccinations somehow infringe on our civil rights.
This is not a civil rights issue. I know the difference. This is an international health crisis. If the mandates seem extreme, they simply reflect the desperation of our circumstance. But consider the irony: The only people threatening the freedoms of people who refuse to mask or vaccinate, are other people who refuse to mask or vaccinate.
People who will sit in a lawn chair in line all night outside a Best Buy have been offered everything but sex to take the vaccine, and they refuse. They want things to return to “normal,” yet won’t do what that requires. The shot, not the sex.
In any case, turns out, there IS a side effect that comes with all the Covid vaccines (aside from the temporary flu-like aches and chills some people report after receiving that second Covid shot), something not publicized by the CDC.
The effect hit me almost immediately after the first Covid shot. I was headed across the pharmacy’s parking lot when I felt something in my walk. Suddenly, it took on a subtle, prideful gait.
Behind the wheel of my car, I sat there, overcome by the faint, dizzying satisfaction that follows after doing your part to help yourself and others.
Right after you’ve been given the vaccine, turn on some music. It’s highly probable that you’re going to come down with the uncontrollable urge to sing. Happily. At the top of your lungs.
However, be warned: The vaccine that can keep you healthy does absolutely nothing for improving vocal pitch.
Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]