In Short: Fulfilling.
Even though I’m not a doctor or a nurse, as a volunteer medic in my rural community I do sometimes give people shots (jabs for you Brits). Our county has one full-time public health nurse, and as you can imagine with the pandemic, she’s awfully busy.
One nurse is usually plenty for giving the occasional flu vaccine, but when you’re trying to vaccinate the entire county as rapidly as doses come in, and it takes two doses to get everyone immunized, it’s going to take more than one person for the job! Our county health department called on our Emergency Medical Services agency, which is also county-run, for assistance.
Our EMS chief then passed on the call to the group of us that are allowed to administer injections: can you help by taking occasional volunteer shifts at the vaccination clinics?
Why yes, yes I can. For me it was an opportunity to be a part of the effort to stem the tsunami of Covid-19 cases that the U.S. is still experiencing, which will slow down hospitalizations and, in the end, result in many, many fewer deaths. Hell yes I wanted to be part of that!
We’re a small county and don’t have any big, wide parking lots. As we’re in the “western slope” of the Rockies, daytime temperatures have been sub-freezing every day, so the clinic was set up in an auditorium. Tables were placed with six-foot spacing. Rebekah explained the paperwork requirements to us (there’s always paperwork!), and the post-shot observation requirements.
There haven’t been any severe reactions here, but there has been an occasional critical reaction in the millions vaccinated so far, so part of the job is to observe everyone for 15 minutes after their shots — 30 minutes if they have a history of reactions, asthma, or other conditions.
Meanwhile, the next batch of recipients trickled in to the other side of the room: we’d go back and forth to be efficient and speedy.
The Real Reaction
No one had an adverse reaction to the shots, but just about everyone there had an emotional reaction: most expressed their gratitude that there was a vaccine, that it was so effective, that they finally had the opportunity to get one to start relieving them of the worry of getting sick, and for all of us who had volunteered to set up the clinic and keep it moving.
That is what makes me so hopeful: we’re not just seeing the beginning of the end of Covid, but so many understand how lucky they are to get their vaccinations pretty early in the process. Nothing about the process was taken for granted.
And I was certainly grateful to be part of it.—
Randy Cassingham is WiLt’s head writer and publisher. His flagship publication This is True, established in 1994, is the oldest entertainment feature on the Internet.
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