A Very Vaccine Spring

You may live closer to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic than you realize

Today in good news: About 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. have received a first dose of vaccine. A statistic that now includes yours truly…

Since moving back to N.C., I had bookmarked the websites of health departments in the three surrounding counties to track their progress and tweet updates. As luck would have it, last Friday I saw Transylvania County, where I reside, had decided to move to Group 3 essential workers (including pink-haired baker/reporters). This happened thanks to a new shipment of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to Brevard News Beat. Meanwhile, Henderson and Buncombe counties are still working through a waitlist of several thousand adults age 65 and older. (If you live in N.C., you can find your group here.)

I immediately shared this information with essential worker friends in the area and posted about it online to get the info out. Through my modest word-of-mouth efforts, I counted an additional dozen people who registered for the vaccine this week. Let me say this with the right emphasis: THIS IS HOW WE CAN GET TO HERD IMMUNITY MORE QUICKLY.

If you are frustrated by the slow pace of vaccinations where you live, don’t give up! Check more rurally populated areas in surrounding counties/metro areas to see if they are struggling to find people to take vaccines. Maybe they are moving faster, like Transylvania County, toward opening it up to more categories of adults. Maybe, like a friend in Salt Lake City shared with me recently, you find a Walmart pharmacy in Ephraim, Utah, that has some Moderna shots that have to be used ASAP so you hop in your car with a couple friends and a box of Crumbl cookies to take to the nice Sanpete pharmacist willing to stay late to administer your shots. (True story!)

It’s not a perfect rollout, but don’t let that be the enemy of good enough. There are options and plenty of decent humans out there willing to help register or drive those who cannot. Speaking of, here’s my 94-year-old friend Irv getting his shot a week ago:

I'm excited that those closest to me are starting to get life-saving shots, but being back in WNC has also exposed me to a much larger undercurrent of vaccine skepticism than I previously knew or maybe was willing to acknowledge existed here. I wrote about this on Instagram a few days ago, so I’m resharing it here. I've been talking to pretty much everyone I see about when they think they may get it and if not, try to listen to their concerns.

One story I try to share is of my Grandpa Jesse Levy. He was born before the development of the polio vaccine and contracted this infectious disease as a kid. He wore leg braces and used a cane and eventually a wheelchair his whole life. His life wasn't all misery, but I remember how much constant pain he was in, and how that affected our relationship with him as his grandkids. We always thought he was perpetually grumpy or angry, not old enough or smart enough or empathetic enough to understand life with a disability.

We also didn't really know what polio even was because we were lucky enough to be born in an era that received vaccines to prevent this type of paralysis. I'm hopeful the same will happen with COVID eventually, but it will take a lot more frank discussions with people about their hangups, their fears and eventually their hopes for the future.

Pick Your Sides

  1. I originally registered to receive Moderna’s shot, but after doing some more reading, found the Johnson & Johnson single dose more convenient and suitable for my low-risk status. There are important differences between the vaccines, and I think this Atlantic story about how they compare is a useful read in advance of getting one.

  2. Had never heard of Mark Hofmann or the Salt Lake City bombs he set off in the mid-80s, but Murder Among the Mormons got me up to speed. I’m not usually a fan of documentaries with lots of reenactments, but they clearly took some notes from Walter White hijacking a train in that final scene of this three-part doc. It’s riveting stuff if a little flat in its overall message about how faith can sometimes lead us astray.

  3. Unsolicited dik pics you might actually enjoy >;)

    Please excuse any typos you see. I edit this newsletter myself!

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