February 5, 2021
OMG, do I envy you, Editor, for having received your first Covid vaccination. I thought that we would be the next group in our county, Douglas County, Neb., at 75 years old or older, but lo and behold it was changed to the 80 years old or older. (I am 77 years old, as is my husband Jim.) Now, another wait. Jim and I have signed up everywhere and all I know is that we, along with thousands of others in our county, will receive an email directing us to call a number to get an appointment. I feel that we will be calling all day just to reach a person or robot! We feel totally discouraged at this point. All we can do is continue to hope!
I think what is making me somewhat angry is hearing of people who are younger than we are who have already been vaccinated. How, you might ask? These people have children or spouses who are in the health professions and they piggyback on for their vaccines. Although it’s probably not against the law, this does seem somewhat unethical.
And then there’s the very wealthy Omahan I know of who went round-trip by air to Phoenix to get his first shot. He will return there for his second one. His lady friend is flying round-trip to Denver this week for her first shot. They are truly the 1 percenters!
We just heard from my husband’s alma mater, Creighton University, that they will be giving out shots but, again, it is through the county website that you sign up.
I doubt that our lives will change once we do get the vaccine, but our emotions certainly will! We will continue to wear our masks and not go to restaurants, but maybe, just maybe, we will feel comfortable enough to visit with our children (with our masks on). Here’s hoping!
Breaking news--Jim and I were able to sign up this morning for our first Covid shots this Saturday! We will be going downtown to Creighton University with a 60% chance of snow and temperatures around 18 degrees. Would never leave our house for ANYTHING except for the blessing of a Covid shot!
Susie Silverman/Omaha, Nebraska
Although born in Chicago, Susie has lived in Omaha since the age of one. She and her husband Jim have two children and two absolutely adored grandchildren, 19 and 21, whom they have not been able to see during this pandemic. Jim is an attorney and Susie been his legal assistant for the pass 20 years; their commute is quite easy, as their offices are upstairs in their house. Although Nebraska is a deeply Red state, Susie feels fortunate to live in District II, Douglas County, which this year gave President Biden one electoral vote.
I’ve been uneasy the past few days. I want to blame it on the weather (some parts of Phoenix and North Scottsdale actually got snow), but I think it’s mostly because of the “end” of the pandemic. It seems like the vaccine is all my friends and family can talk about.
“What will you do after you’re vaccinated?”
“Who will you see after the vaccine?”
“When do you think it’ll be available?”
I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but I don’t think the vaccine guarantees 100% immunity to Covid-19. I also don’t think it stops us from being carriers of the virus. I haven’t come across any articles with definite answers. I believe it is still recommended to wear masks and wash hands regularly after being vaccinated.
But no one wants to hear that. It’s shocking how aggressive some people get about my reminder. It has opened my eyes to see that most people prefer a narrative that permits them to do what they want rather than being “inconvenienced” for the greater good.
All I’m saying is in our attempt for normalcy, we shouldn’t be so quick to reject recommendations of continuing our efforts until herd immunity is achieved. We made it this far—surely we can hang in there a little while longer?
Let’s address the three schools of thought surrounding the vaccine: Vaccinate, not to vaccinate, and waiting. All three options come with their own social shaming.
In Arizona, the vaccination rollout is sectioned by groups.
There are state-run vaccination sites like the State Farm Stadium in Glendale and the Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Then there are county specific sites, like local pharmacies, clinics, and healthcare centers. There have been discrepancies in the current phase. In some counties, people who are 65 and older (Prioritized Phase 1B) are allowed to be vaccinated, while some local sites or pharmacies only allow people who are 75 and older to be vaccinated.
If someone tries to register through the state website (azdhs.gov), the process can be riddled with inefficiencies, confusion, and frustration. While helping an older family member navigate the site, I noticed the appointment slots were marked as full (the website did not populate the next available date). According to my research, we were supposed to click through each day on the calendar, and with a stroke of luck, an appointment might appear. It has been rumored that this technical bug will be fixed, so people registering for the vaccine won’t have to waste time clicking through each day.
Currently, appointments for the two stadiums are booked solid through February. My loved ones, who are in Prioritized Phase 1B, wait eagerly for the March availability announcements.
There are some who have been fortunate in getting the first dose (both Moderna and Pfizer have a two-dose vaccination process). I, unknowingly, walked into a minefield when I asked if they had any side effects. Again, it was a simple question. It’s possible that because I messaged the question, the receiver assigned an unintentional tone to my words. Some of my loved ones had answers prepared for me that included:
“Based on my doctor’s suggestion, I can still breastfeed during the vaccination process.”
“The side effects aren’t as bad as people are making them out to be.”
“There isn’t evidence that the Florida doctor died from the vaccine.”
The list goes on. I really was caught off guard by some of the responses. I truly just wanted to know what they were personally experiencing to help me manage my expectations of getting the vaccine. Not once had I asked about deaths or breastfeeding. I can only assume that my loved ones were accused of making a terrible decision to get the vaccine, because they were so guarded in their responses.
As for the people who don’t want to be vaccinated immediately, I think there are two types of people in that group: the ones who absolutely refuse to be vaccinated, and the ones who want to wait and see. Some of the people in this crowd have been hesitant to voice their opinions (typically the wait-and-see people), while others have been extremely rude:
“Get the microchip, you sheep.”
“You must not want kids because you’re so willing to get the vaccine...Who knows what’s in there?”
“This is going to be a class-action lawsuit…You’re going to regret this.”
For the rude individuals, there is no point in having a conversation with them. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
As for the wait-and-see crowd, I think they’re within their rights to not immediately sign up for the vaccine. If it isn’t a requirement for their jobs or school, they shouldn’t be shamed or criticized for waiting. Nothing changes for them for the time being. They should continue to wear masks, social distance, and sanitize. Being cautious is a survival tactic.
As for me, I’m eager to get the vaccine. I’ve asked my friends and family members about their individual experiences and trust the science. It is my personal decision, motivated by my own worldview and philosophies. I’m hopeful that when the general public is allowed to be vaccinated in Arizona, the process will be effortless and the side effects will be bearable.
Anita Saesing/Scottsdale, Ariz.
Anita Saesing has always been nomadic. She was born in California, but spent her teenage years in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Before she graduated from high school, an elderly couple from her previous apartment complex invited her to live with them in Arizona. Four days after her high school graduation, she packed her bags and joined them on their cross-country road trip. She spent her college years working at various places including a childcare center and hospital HR office. She was the first in her family to graduate debt-free from college. Anita graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Grand Canyon University. One day, she desires to live in Italy and “do as the Romans do.”