Vaccination process is frustrating, imperfect ... and filled with small joys and triumphs
The coronavirus vaccine is still a ways away for a lot of us, and watching the myriad ways our states are making the vaccination process go slowly or inequitably has become one of the nation’s most infuriating pastimes. The glass is definitely half empty—there have been racial inequities in vaccination rates and indeed, focusing on people over 75 first created its own racial inequity, because Black people have a life expectancy below 75 in the U.S.; teachers are being pushed into in-person teaching without getting vaccinated first; grocery workers are similarly being left out despite having to work in person; and people are outright cheating. There’s a lot to be angry about. But at the same time, the glass really is half full here: 13.9% of the U.S. population has had at least one dose, and 6.5% have had both doses. More than 1.5 million shots a day are being administered. Vaccine production is increasing. Some areas have embarked on meaningful programs to fix racial inequities.
And while we shouldn’t let go of the push to get things right, and the rage when things are done wrong, there’s another vaccination-related pastime available: rejoicing in the people who are getting their shots. Maybe it’s someone close to home. In the lobby of my building, there’s a list posted where people can sign when they’ve been vaccinated, and I’m not going to lie: I look at that list regularly, celebrating that my elderly and immunocompromised neighbors are on their way to safety. Maybe it’s close to someone else’s home—I’m with my coworker Gabe Ortíz on this one:
xTweets about parents and elder family members getting the vaccine are my favorite tweets. 🥺😭— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) February 25, 2021
One group is getting an extra up-close view of all this relief and joy: That would be the people administering the vaccinations, who got some attention in an uplifting Washington Post article this week.
According to Northern Virginia nurse Akosua “Nana” Poku, “the emotional time is when I see a husband and a wife receive the vaccine together at the same time, and they’re grandparents, and they’re just so excited to see their grandchildren.” Ohio pharmacy Ebram Botros, an immigrant from Egypt, “feels a special responsibility to reassure Black patients who may be vaccine-averse from a historical legacy of medical abuse,” the Post reported.
”I say quite often, this is probably the most important thing I’ll ever do in my career,” Washington, D.C., nurse Corie Robinson said. An Arizona pharmacist administering vaccines in nursing homes who ended up assigned to vaccinate his wife’s grandmother described his family’s excitement and said: “All of these residents that we’re interacting with have at least one loved one or friend or family member that is going to be going through those same emotions.”
After nearly a year of fear and loss and sacrifice and stress, there is something beautiful happening. Hope is here even for those of us who will be waiting a while. It’s an imperfect process, a frustrating process, but every day 1.5 million people are getting that shot. Let’s also witness the joy.
xThere is life changing work happening out here at the @FEMA vaccination site in Los Angeles. The story of one of our own, a young soldier from right here in L.A., who vaccinated his mother... that's going to stick with me for a while. pic.twitter.com/xV0arMpCQO— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) February 25, 2021
xMy parents received their first shot of the the COVID-19 vaccine today. I am filled with gratitude for the community advocates helping folks like my parents who are essential workers access the vaccine. For the last year my greatest fear was that they would get sick.— Marissa Molina Q (@MarisitaMo) February 25, 2021
xMy 82-yo grandma, who left her house today for the first time since March 2020 got vaccinated a few mins ago! She lives in Mexico and getting vaccinating there has not been easy. My mom, a bilingual 3rd grade teacher in TX also finally got vaccinated this week!! #GodIsGood 💕🙏— Maya Saenz - KMTV (@Maya_Reports) February 26, 2021
xMom just texted with news that she got her first Pfizer dose. Both parents now vaccinated, it’s like a weight was just lifted I didn’t even know I was carrying.— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) February 23, 2021
xMY MOM GOT VACCINATED TODAY!!!!! I feel like I can breathe for the first time in a year, she’s that much safer and can go back to the classroom doing what she loves 😭❤️— Lexi Lopez (@_LexiKLopez) February 25, 2021
xToday I volunteered at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Baltimore City Senior Public Housing. AndMy aunt got vaccinated in MN!And My parents got vaccinated in ND!!!What a good day! 😊— Mike Rose (@MikeRoseMDMPH) February 26, 2021
xWater turned on, boil notice lifted, parents got vaccinated, tomorrow is my birthday, thank you america pic.twitter.com/ruOdXVN6cF— Jake García (@Jake_M_Garcia) February 23, 2021