Gary Tetz

Where is Paul Revere when we need him? It seems like he should be racing through every hamlet and long-term care facility in America shrieking, “The vaccine is coming! The vaccine is coming!” The news media has been playing that role, of course. But maybe people would trust the information more if it came from a patriot in a tricorn hat riding a horse. 

All the hype and hope around an imminent vaccine doesn’t appear to be just a political manipulation or a mirage. Knock on wood, I’m dangerously close to believing the news is real, that one is actually on the way and that it just might work

That’s a big statement for me, because I’m naturally a skeptic. I don’t recall ever climbing onto Santa’s lap and thinking I’d really get a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot Range Model air rifle

I never prayed to the Tooth Fairy or accepted the Easter Bunny into my heart as an article of faith. But despite my natural resistance, this seems real. And 90% effective? That’s fantastical, but praise Pfizer, I believe! 

If a vaccine is indeed imminent, it’s just in time. Because it feels to me like people are increasingly raising the white flag and giving up the COVID-19 prevention battle. It’s kind of like we’ve had a rattlesnake loose in the house for the past ten months and have spent every waking moment trying to avoid being bitten. But finally, as exhaustion and discouragement set in, it’s tempting to lie down on the floor and whimper, “Fine, come and get me. Just get it over with.”

So when a vaccine soon descends from the heavens deus ex machina-style, will I choose to take it? Yes, the absolute second it’s available. Because frankly, I don’t care about my rights, or being under the thumb of the man, or who’s getting rich off it, or whether it’s all a plot to sedate the populace and establish a New World Order ruled by Dr. Fauci. I just want to be in the same room with friends and family, and not walk around with a smelly diaper on my face anymore. I’d gleefully get vaccinated twice a day with a blunt elephant needle if it meant I could breathe again, administer reckless hugs and stop washing my mail.

Of course, I’ve heard from others of a far different mind, who have no intention of letting the vaccine get anywhere near their freedom-facing arm. But for long-term care staff, I expect them to have two choices — get vaccinated or keep wearing multiple layers of PPE. 

As a self-conscious introvert who avoids public attention like it’s the plague, I’d far rather take the vaccine than be one of the few still walking around the facility in an N95 and a welder’s helmet. That would be a lonely, conspicuous existence, like wearing a dunce cap, or having the Scarlet Letter “U” for “unvaccinated” embroidered on my scrubs. 

So, yes, when the vaccine comes, I’ll be the first in line. I might even camp out all night like it’s for a new iPhone or Rolling Stones tickets. But I do have one small request for the person administering the shot. Could you please just dress as Paul Revere? 

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a two-time national Silver Medalist and three-time regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program, as well as an Award of Excellence honoree in the recent APEX 2020 Awards. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a writer and video producer for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.