Wife Amy and I have an appointment — together — for the first of two shots of the COVID-19 virus next month. With luck, we can make it through the next four weeks without contacting the deadly infection. After a year of keeping the pandemic at bay, we will keep our fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.
Old age, baseball star Satchel Paige once said, is a “case of mind over matter. If I don’t mind, it don’t matter.”
At age 73, it does matter, particularly when there’s a virus out there that doesn’t like us older folks with what the Centers for Disease control call “underlying conditions.” In my case, that’s COPD, severe rheumatoid arthritis, and a battered brain that suffers memory loss and other problems.
Amy is a few years younger but has asthma, a heart condition, and a few other conditions that bring her up the scale in vaccine priority. We both move with a lot of aches and moans.
Availability of the shots has fallen behind from the rosy predictions of those supposedly responsible for making sure such things happen but not unexpected in these complicated times.
Those responsible? That’s probably not an issue to discuss i mixed company when it comes to our national elected officials. President Harry Truman proudly says “the buck stops here.” Now, the believe by many is more like “Pass the buck to someone else. I’m not responsible.”
As of Sunday 30.8 million have been vaccindated, reports The Washington Post. That’s 9.3 percent of Americans who need the shot with 24.9 percent of the “prioritized” population.
Supplies of vaccines allocated to states are far below the expanding group of eligible people. States are struggling to make and keep appointments as supply trails demand. On the other hand, some states are falling behind vaccination goals because of resistance to taking the vaccines. At current rates, it is likely to be months before the existing prioritized population is vaccinated. Doses are currently allocated for only a third of the priority populations identified by states.
In Virginia, 843,442 have received the first shot — 9.9 percent of those who need it — and 2.1 percent have received their second shot.
An acquaintance earlier this week said he is looking forward to getting his shots so “I won’t have to wear that damn mask.”
Sorry, I had to tell him. The masks will remain as long as we have an emergency declared and that end is many months off.
A study by the New England Journal of Medicine says the first shot doesn’t start protection until after 12 days and will reach about 54 percent “in a few weeks. ” At best, after the second shot, most may have up to 90 percent of protection, but that still means one out of every 10 may still catch the virus.
Plus, the variants appearing overseas and in the United States may not provide that level of protection.
We have a long way to go before the mask goes into the drawer or the trash.