Make way for the Mad VaxRush
By Jean Godden
News in Seattle is now dominated by vaccine this and vaccine that. What we hear and see are many conflicting messages, especially now that all U. S. adults have become eligible for vaccination.
Our local officials -- elected and appointed -- are unanimous. They're urging us to get a covid-19 shot "as soon as possible." Meanwhile other officials are reporting -- oops -- that our state may not receive sufficient supplies; still others advise us to "just be patient." It's enough to give any sane person a terminal case of whiplash.
On the rosy side of this vax madness, it is comforting that the hang-ups are just a temporary demand and supply problem and, yes, there is an end in sight. Likely by the summer solstice, we'll all be dancing around the maypole, waltzing through the streets and putting our anxieties behind us.
During today's calmer moments, it's possible to pause and be thankful that President Biden kept his early promise to ramp up vaccine production and speed deliveries. Nevertheless, if you're newly eligible (650 King County residents are), you're going to hear a monotony of questions:
Have you gotten your shot yet? What do you mean you haven't found an appointment? Have you tried hanging around the supermarket pharmacy at quitting time? Didn't you hear about shots that are going to waste?
One of the oddest things about the vax obsession is that no two of one's friends has found the same path to immunity. The stories keep emerging and some of them are bizarre.
Take my friend Dora (not her name, since we respect medical privacy). Dora has been taking home-baked chocolate-chip cookies to the pharmacist at her local grocery. Once she discovered his weakness, she began regular delivery, secretly hoping he'd call her next time he had an extra dose. Don't underestimate cookies: Her plot worked.
Or then there is Joe (another true story). He went off to Arizona to take care of business last fall. He wangled his first covid shot after he noticed people being vaccinated at a local drug store. Back home in Seattle, he despaired of getting a second shot. He was beginning to panic when a friend told him about doses going wanting at a tribal health center. Yes, they were reserving 65 percent for tribal members, but after that, anyone could sign up. Sure enough, Joe got his second shot.
Alice had it lucky. She got a call from a friend who had a confirmed appointment at a Mount Vernon pharmacy, no longer needed when she found a shot elsewhere. Alice could just show up and tell them she was filling the friend's appointment. Sounded risky, driving to Mount Vernon but, surprise, Alice ended up with a shot and an appointment for a second one three weeks later.
My buddy Al still has relatives in Yakima where he grew up. His folks have been telling him how easy it is to get a shot. Just show up, they said. So he hopped in his car, drove 145 miles and received a shot before the afternoon sun went down. Yes, Al felt a little guilty about taking a shot meant for someone living there. But, hey, when people aren't showing up, why let shots go to waste?
Finally there was Margo who had been searching on-line for weeks. That's when she heard about Island Drugs in Oak Harbor, a destination that involved a ferry trip and 40-mile drive. She checked the site and clicked on what looked like an open time. Although unsure if she really had an appointment, Margo arrived and began negotiating long lines, filling out a questionnaire and waiting alongside displays of cute trinkets and souvenirs. But, at last, she got that welcome shot.
The entire setup with so many circuitous routes seems designed by the Mad Hatter in consultation with the Red Queen. But, on the other hand, it's something we can talk about at that long-awaited get-together the president promised: a Fourth of July barbecue.