The first time around, I thanked God, my daughter and Twitter for managing to snag me one of the first appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. It was February of last year, and I felt like I’d won the lottery. I drove for an hour to East LA, stood in line for an hour with my son (there to drive me home in case I had a bad reaction) and thanked everyone in sight.
When I got the confirmation for my second shot, I couldn’t believe that the system set up by the city of Los Angeles actually worked. I went back to East LA, stood happily in line again and thanked everyone in sight — again.
For my booster last August, I made an appointment on the same day, attested to my rheumatoid arthritis, and thanked the very nice pharmacist at my local Rite Aid.
This time, I have no idea if I’m very smart or not. I have no idea of much of anything when it comes to COVID-19. I don’t know if I’ve had it or not, for example: I had two positive at-home tests, one negative PCR test and no symptoms after being exposed. I don’t know why I wore a mask everywhere for two years and now don’t wear a mask at all. Or why we campaigned against anti-maskers with nearly all of us now anti-mask. Were they right? Obviously, that can’t be. Too many of them got sick and died. So, what’s changed?
One thing COVID-19 has made clear is many of the self-proclaimed experts aren’t, or can’t be believed, like our former president. But figuring out who is to be believed is another matter. Every time someone says they are being guided solely by science, I wonder if politics are a factor. Taking politics out of the most important public health issue of our time is simply not possible.
The very nice Rite Aid pharmacist, who also gave me my third shot, reassures me that I’m doing the right thing.
The fourth time around, there is no line, but its very frustrating in an entirely different way. Frustrating because the pharmacist is probably right about getting the additional booster: I’ve just heard of a friend of a friend who died of COVID-19, three shots and all.
If the pharmacist is right about doing the right thing, and I think she is, where is everyone? Trying to figure it out, I fear. Trying to figure out who to believe.
As I leave the pharmacy, whose shelves are strangely empty, I can’t help but feel that sense of insecurity that pervades so much of life lately.
And there is still one more question: where is President Biden? Why doesn’t his voice ring through?
To find out more about Susan Estrich, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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