Oh, what a relief it is!

Published 5:50 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2021

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Oh, what a relief it is!

My arm is sore, my fever finally broke, and my bottle of Advil is emptied.  However, yippee and Howdy Doody, I am vaccinated against the coronavirus!  Do you remember the Alka Seltzer commercial, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is!?” If you do, then you know why I was qualified to receive the vaccine.  

There is satisfaction in knowing I contributed to kicking the dickens out of COVID.  So, I endured a few days of discomfort to further the cause of healing a world, and I need a new bottle of Advil. So what? It was such a small price to pay!

Our children desperately need to return to the classroom, so I will gladly do my part to see them get there. When folks are begging for food, jobs, stability, and sanity, we all must do what we can to keep each other from falling through the cracks of a fractured world.

I am unnerved by those healthy individuals who can be safely vaccinated but refuse to do so out of fear, misinformation, or political partisanship. So upset, I am afraid I might poke them with my one functioning arm! How selfish we can become when we put our personal bias before other’s complete misery.   

Sure, we do not know with complete certainty the conclusive results of the COVID vaccines, but we are confident this pandemic will not end without them.    

My relatives succumbed to the Spanish Flu of 1918 in droves, and their ancestors died of Typhoid Fever in multitudes. Polio ended my friend’s life and left others disabled. Smallpox took out half a billion people between 1880 and 1980 before it was eradicated. The smallpox vaccine is considered dangerous as well, but what if it never existed? I doubt you would be alive to read this story today. 

When I was a child, we formed school lines for vaccines and tests to be administered. We were given no choice; we did so because a shot was better than the alternative. Sometimes, the risk is worth it for the well-being of humankind.  Sure, something can go wrong in a horrible twist of fate. However, how do you know it was not you or your child who would be lying in a grave today without a vaccination?

When the entire elementary school took their turns to be tested for tuberculosis in the early 1950s, I was the only child to test positive. Luckily, in the end, I did not have the disease, but I do have a trail of mysterious scars on my lungs. What if a TB test had not existed and I was positive? How many would have died from me being infected?

In the 20th century, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death due to its transmission rate. Today, most cases are cured by proper diagnosis and the administering of antibiotic drugs for many months. However, in 2019, 1.4 million people worldwide still succumbed to TB. How many more would there be without the invention of the antibiotic? 

How many lives have scientists saved? Yet, we still often refuse to listen to sound medical science and advice.   

When I read an unproven theory about vaccines’ dangers, following the science, or folks pitting politics against medicine, I wonder how those who espouse such beliefs are even alive. Did they not receive polio, smallpox, whooping cough, typhoid, or tetanus vaccines during their lifetime? Did a doctor or a politician administer them? 

What do these dangerous folks gain by broadcasting skepticism over reason? Are we willing to pay the price if we listen or support them?

I believe the idea of promoting fear to gain recognition or a following is one of the vilest and most cruel acts we can possibly do today. I am ready to get a vaccine to eradicate such scrounge. 

Cynicism and distrust should never overtake common sense. Fear should never replace courage because when it does, it will kill us all.

The medical community of scientists, caregivers, and pharmacology can make mistakes, but how many times have they gotten it right? How many lives have been saved by research and medical advances? Probably, one of those or many saved yours.

Oh, what a relief that is!