Vaccinated! Gratitude for humanity's strength
Two days ago, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine!
As someone with a severe underlying health condition, I was invited to sign up for a clinic administered by my local County Health Department.
Last week the county sent out a website link that would go live at noon on Friday. I was wary because I had tried a similar sign-up the week before, and before I had finished filling out the online form, the clinic had filled up. It took less than six minutes.
I was discouraged and frustrated.
My doctors couldn't do anything to help me since the county was in charge of distribution. However, my friends encouraged me to try again, reassuring me that I could get in.
This time when the link went live, my hands were shaking as I typed furiously. I used my computer rather than my phone so I could click through the questionnare faster.
It felt like I was trying to buy concert tickets before the event sold out. But the stakes were higher.
When I finally reached the scheduling page, I was relieved to see some appointments were still available. Heart racing and muscles tensed, I selected a time and hit the button to confirm. I was in!
I threw up my hands in celebration and texted my friends and family with the good news.
Half an hour before my appointment, I pulled into the parking lot at the Fairgrounds. I followed the signs to the main building where others in the community were arriving for their vaccine. Despite the flow of people, I didn't have to wait. I was checked in at the door then directed to a vaccine station.
Julie, a nurse, was set up at the end of a six-foot table, one of about a dozen spread throughout the large room. She asked about potential allergic reactions and explained the vaccine process. Once I consented to proceed, she gave me the shot in my upper left arm, placing a pink camo Band-Aid over the injection site.
I put on my coat and followed the signs to the next building (where EMT's were on standby) for fifteen minutes of observation. In this room, I also got scheduled for my second dose.
While I waited, I looked around at the people in my community who had just received a life-saving vaccine. Two others beside me were in wheelchairs. Many were seniors over the age of seventy. And a few people were young, likely suffering from one of the many "invisible illnesses" that bring judgement and difficult challenges.
I marveled at the smooth process that shepherded us through the steps, and I was grateful for all of the volunteers and employees who made it happen.
Then I took a deep breath and reflected on the larger miracle. I recalled watching a short Netflix documentary last spring that detailed the complexities of vaccine development. I remember feeling despair at the distant hope of a solution that could be years down the road.
The fact that an effective, robust vaccine was available for a deadly disease which, less than a year ago, had caused a worldwide pandemic was nearly unbelievable.
It was the culmination of months of research, collaboration, clinical trials, and community planning.
It was the fruits of labor of thousands of scientists, engineers, volunteers, public servants, leaders in governmental agencies, pharmaceutical employees, transportation and storage experts, healthcare workers, web designers, media journalists, and myriad unnamed others who supported and advanced the vaccine.
I often talk about Doorways through which you can glimpse the Divine at work in a slice of Heaven on Earth with perfection, joy, or love. The Covid vaccine is one of the largest and widest Doorways I've ever seen.
It's one resounding, international answered prayer.
And it's proof that working together toward a common goal can strengthen the bonds of humanity.
Where do you see humanity's strength?
What Doorways have you encounted recently?
Other Doorways from this month:
- A former colleague sent me a group photo of the staff dressed in red for Go Red Day. She has carried on the tradition I started, and it felt good to know I had made a difference.
- We were driving home one night, and just as we topped a hill on the country road, a lone burst of fireworks erupted on the horizon. It was a beautiful surprise!
- I had an early appointment on a cold morning, and I wasn't excited to be in the car. When I approached the first stop light, I looked up and saw a beautiful sundog. This vertical rainbow was a great reminder to cherish each day.
- Our church created a special activity kit for Lent. Since I couldn't go get it, one of the pastors delivered it to my door and performed the blessing of Ash Wednesday for me.