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Katie’s Musings – The Vaccine Diaries

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
February 3 2021

Last week, Scott, Jim, and I were fortunate enough to receive the vaccine.  For weeks, there’d been some confusion as to whether or not clergy were included in the first tier of vaccinations, with each district making different decisions.  So when Scott was made aware of it’s availability to clergy here, he and I hightailed it to the clinic.

There was a somewhat surprising police/national guard presence there, who were ushering people through an generally running crowd control…even though there wasn’t much of a crowd to speak of.  Scott and I barely stood in line and were waved quickly through each checkpoint.  Within 15 minutes, we were rolling up our sleeves for the nurses in the vaccination room.

I admit, I was excited to the point of being uncool.  I kept thinking about how if you’d told me when this began here in March that in less than a year, we would have vaccines, I’d have told you that you were cuckoo.  And I know many people who are nervous to take the vaccine, to the point of refusing it.  If getting it myself could help someone else come to that decision, then EXCELLENT!  The nurses laughed at me a little, but I thanked them profusely all the while, so excited that I had to go back to grab my vaccination card after the shot, as I’d been so pumped I left without grabbing it

As soon as Scott and I were in the required 30 minute observation room (a gymnasium, set up a little bit like a production of Our Town, with chairs stuck 6 fee part from each other in rows) we frantically began texting all the clergy folks we knew to come receive the vaccine.  Jim and many of our other colleagues were then able to get it that day, and I am so glad for that protection for them.

….I didn’t anticipate the vaccine shaming situation that would take place shortly after for us and many others I’ve heard from since, with folks angry that we had been able to receive it before so many others.  We “jumped the line,” apparently (we didn’t) and should have waited for more vulnerable people/teachers to receive the vaccine before we did (that’s not how it works, because if it did, I’d trade spots with them in a heartbeat).

And I totally get it.  We are all really sick of the pandemic situation.  I know that for me, it goes in waves – some days are good and I think “wow I’ve got the hang of this!” And other days I spend hours blankly staring at my phone.  We all want normal to reappear right now, like magic, and most of all, we all want our friends and loved ones protected from the virus.  We are aware of justice issues in our community that need addressing, and the virus and vaccine distribution process hare some serious issues with that.  Particularly since communities of color are being disproportionately affected by the virus.  And the fact that teachers are being asked to return to in person school without vaccines is, in my view, unconscionable.  It is our job and our duty to raise questions about this and question the order in which the vaccine is being made available to folks.

…. While at the same time receiving the vaccine if it is our turn to do so and encouraging others to do the same.  We find ourselves in this depressing game of beat the clock – vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible to slow down mutations.  Because as I understand it, the more mutations occur, the more likely it is that one will be vaccine resistant.

And it probably goes without saying, but we do NOT want that to happen.  It is our literal job to get the vaccine if it is made available to us whilst encouraging others to do the same AND questioning the order in which people are prioritized.

Pandemic-world multitasking.  We can do it.  I believe in us.

*NOTE because people are curious:  my arm was sore (think a bad tetanus shot) for about 1.5 days and I had a headache off and on during that time.  Feeling just fine now.  Did NOT mutate into a super hero… yet.  I’m staying hopeful on that front…. 😉