Monday, December 14, 2020 was truly an historic day as the first doses of the anxiously-awaited COVID vaccination arrived at various hospitals and other venues throughout the country. These initial doses were given to high-risk workers. The recipients were grateful and upbeat. The general feelings were of pride to have played a major role in coping with the virus and relief that the vaccine is providing tangible evidence that we have turned the corner in our fight to defeat it.
A few examples:
1. Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse in a Long Island hospital, opined “I’ve seen too much pain, too much death….. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.” Amen to that.
2. Dr. Aharon Sareli, head of critical care at a Florida hospital, characterized the vaccine as the “first real hope in changing the epidemiology of the virus.”
3. In Columbus, OH Phillip Grudowski, a critical care nurse in an area hospital said he felt “privileged” to be one of the first recipients. He and his coworkers recounted the many patients who suffered greatly with the virus, which viciously attacked their major organs and put them through agonizing pain before killing them.
4. In Santa Fe, NM Yvonne Bieg-Cordova, a radiologist at a local hospital, was very grateful to be one of the first recipients. “I’ve worked in healthcare since I was 18,” she said. “I seen a lot of people die… but over the last nine months the amount of people who have died from COVID has been horrendous.”
5. In Iowa Dr. Patricia Winokur, an investigator for one of the clinical trials for the vaccine gushed “Our team worked so hard, and I am so proud to have been a part of it.”
These reactions were repeated thousands of times all over the country.
Millions more doses are slated to follow in the coming days. There are several vaccines in various stages of development. These vaccines have been researched, developed, tested, with 95% efficacy, and brought to market in just nine months. Nine months! This is a remarkable achievement.
Many of you will recall that back in March all the medical and epidemiology “experts” were emphatically telling us it would take several years to accomplish this. They lectured us that the most optimistic timetable was five years. Commentators on the “fake news” outlets as well as Dem politicians and Trump-haters were openly mocking the Administration for its “unrealistic” predictions.
Of course, as with most everything else COVID-related, the “experts” were wrong. Few people will acknowledge it now, but this achievement was primarily the result of the leadership of President Trump. It was his vision and acumen as a problem-solver that poked, prodded and cajoled everyone from the scientists, the drug company executives, the people who provide swabs, needles and other support products, and logistics experts to put this all together. In my view, he has been unfairly criticized and accused of exacerbating the pandemic by his various perceived policies of omission and commission and causing thousands of fatalities. Let’s see if he is now given the credit for saving millions of lives for this achievement. I won’t be holding my breath.
Remarkably, according to a recent Fox News poll only 61% of the public is planning to take the vaccination. In addition, a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation disclosed that in excess of 25% of respondents said they would “probably or definitely not” take the vaccine. My question is what the heck are these people thinking? A few may have legitimate reasons for demurring, such as an allergy, but most of them are, quite frankly, not thinking clearly and rationally. This is America. We can’t make them take it, but their refusal will put themselves and others with whom they interact at grave risk for contracting the virus.
I believe that in many cases their disinclination or outright fears have been influenced by negative comments of many in the “fake news” media and certain Dem politicians, such as Biden, Harris, Schumer, Pelosi and Cuomo that were pushing their own anti-Trump agenda. They were intent on depriving Mr. Trump of a “win” on the eve of the election even if it had a negative impact on the country. An apt analogy would be if you were surrounded by an enemy bent on killing you, the cavalry comes riding over the hill to rescue you, and rather than embracing your good fortune at being rescued, you tell them: “That’s okay. I don’t need you; I’m fine.”
Incredibly, amid all this optimism certain clueless state governors, such as NY’s Como and CA’s Gavin Newsome are planning to re-institute the shutdown of indoor restaurant dining, just in time for the winter. I have yet to see any scientific evidence that indoor dining has been a significant spreader of the virus. Yes, some establishments have ignored social distancing guidelines, but these have been few and far between. So, why punish every establishment? Why not just target specific violators, enhance inspections? These governors, and others like them, are being unduly arbitrary and authoritarian. They seem bound and determined to kill the restaurant industry and the small businesses that support it. It’s unconscionable.
Sadly, the vaccines have come too late for many people. Over 300,000 Americans have died from the virus and millions more worldwide. The NY Times has reported that some 2,400 Americans are now dying each day. Many of us have lost loved ones, and probably many more of us will in the months to come. It is incumbent upon everyone to take the vaccination as soon as it is offered. In particular, if you have a family member or friend who is an “at risk” person due to age or pre-existing condition who is reluctant please convince them to take it as well. It is literally a matter of life and death! After months of pain, suffering and sacrifice we are nearing the goal line. Let’s cross over it together!