Vaccinations, a dizzying experience

Wayne Clark PhD

Over 50% of Baby Boomers have had a head start on the Covid Vaccine experience. They have had vaccine hesitancy, seen vaccine resistance, talked with vaccine skeptics,been frustrated with vaccine availability, tried in vain to get vaccine appointments, surveyed vaccine destinations, struggled with access to the vaccine, suffered thru vaccine envy, and then found vaccine elation. What can be learned from those experiences now that the rest of the population will be eligible for vaccinations. Many of those under the age of 65 have been already been declared eligible due to either their health condition, profession, working in essential businesses, veterans status, zip codes, weight, race or ethnicity. Yet most of those under 65 and a still large number of those over 65 still remain un-vaccinated.

Even though there is an elaborate process for federal, state, and local governments to register, schedule, and actually get vaccines in peoples arms. It is a daunting task for each of us to get vaccines in our arms. We find that getting vaccinated depended on what individual attributes we have or don’t have. Those vaccinated already know the maze required to get thru: such as your age, race, zip code, occupation, whether you are a veteran, whether you are in a congregate living situation, and the absence or presence of a co-morbid condition.

Once the Science in the health institutes and pharmacological industry developed a clearly effective vaccine, then the challenge was distributing it. From the federal perspective, they had to order enough vaccines, pass legislation to pay for enough vaccine, and create a public health messaging and mass distribution process. From the State perspective, you need to develop and establish avenues of distribution. Answer questions such as: do you have a system of clinics in all parts of the state, how do you handle the various needs of rural and urban communities, how do you reach high risk populations? From the local perspective do you get all the vaccines you were promised, are you reaching all citizens in need, do you have enough Health care professional to give the vaccine, do you have adequate communications and infrastructure to accommodate the volumes of request for getting an appointment and getting scheduled?

Meanwhile there are other socioeconomic factors entering into the vaccination of 330 million Americans (we won’t even deal with the 5 billion humans needing vaccinations on this earth). First there were anti-vaccers, not believing that there is a pandemic or just convinced that all vaccinations cause more harm than good. Then comes along such things as vaccine eligibility lying, vaccine line jumping, vaccine envy, then the real challenge, getting a least 70% of of the US and world population vaccinated.

So how is it working? This Herculean task, based on the scientific opportunity of having vaccines available within a year of the discovery of Covid 19 and the resulting pandemic. This baby boomer was faced with one full month of getting an appointment scheduled, then having it canceled, trying to get rescheduled, succeeding then being canceled again, finally we got an appointment to actually receive our shots. Instead of a nurse at a health center or local hospital, we went to a pharmacy where a pharmacist administered the shot. The process took a total of 40 minutes from standing in line outside the store, to waiting in the pharmacy after the shot was administered. The pharmacist was very good at giving the shot, I barely felt the needle. I asked him what his trick was and he said that the needle should go in vertically to the skin, to reduce the impact on the skin and muscles.

I had no pain, no bleeding and my arm felt fine. However the next day and for the first time in my life I developed either vertigo or some other symptom that results in unusual dizziness, blurred vision (not blurred enough to stop me from writing) and my staying in bed to avoid tripping and falling. I had planned to write about what a dizzying experience the procurement, scheduling, eligibility and eventually getting the vaccine has been, when low and behold, my body decided to say it for me.

So for those of you not eligible yet or with not enough vaccine to distribute or still holding onto the view that this is all a hoax. My recommendation is to get scheduled, be patient, tell the truth about your eligibility, continue the public health protective measures (distancing, masking, etc.), and if you have a reaction to the vaccine, recognize that this is much better than what’s befallen over 500,000 of our friends and neighbors.