I’m Part of the Herd and You’re (Probably) Not

 

I’m a veteran. Yes, yes, I know you want to thank me for my service. Never mind. I was a supply clerk, for goodness sake. I got a paper cut once (hurt like the dickens), but I never got within a thousand miles of a battlefield. In fact, I only scored Marksman on the rifle range, the lowest of three classifications, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to hit the foe with a bullet even if the Army had shipped me off to Afghanistan.

OK, I got that off my chest. But being a veteran (I was called up twice) got me access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Well, that, and the fact that I’m 82 years old.

The VA sent me an appointment to get my shot (Pfizer, the one that has to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius) at Portland’s Main VA Hospital. When I showed up, they ushered me into a room with ten stations, each of which had a nurse with a syringe. The shot, completely painless, along with the obligatory questions, took less than two minutes. Then I had to sit in a chair for fifteen minutes, at the end of which a young man came over and asked me if I felt woozy. I said no, so I was out of there.

I’ll go back in three weeks for my second shot.

It’s now the next day after my shot and I’ve had no side effects whatsoever. The injection site isn’t even sore, though symptoms, I’ve heard, can appear up to fourteen days after the shot.

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  1. CRD Member
    CRD
    @CRD

    Thank you for your service! (I’m a firm believer that every component of an organization counts!) And I also agree – paper cut really hurts!

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Did your wife get one as well based on your service (for which I thank you) ?

    • #2
  3. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    My understanding is that, as with many 2-dose vaccines (e.g., the shingles vaccine), the second one is the one with the side effects.

    • #3
  4. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Would you guys quit thanking me. Now just stop it.  I was drafted and ended up a supply clerk.  Wait, I suppose you can thank me only if you’re being ironic.  So you might put a little smiley face after your comment. 

    @Hoyacon, my wife is 77 years old, but she isn’t a veteran so she couldn’t get a shot at the VA hospital. 

    • #4
  5. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    My understanding is that, as with many 2-dose vaccines (e.g., the shingles vaccine), the second one is the one with the side effects.

    Law, I think you’re right.  My nurse told me that she ended up in bed after the second shot. 

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Would you guys quit thanking me. Now just stop it. I was drafted and ended up a supply clerk. Wait, I suppose you can thank me only if you’re being ironic. So you might put a little smiley face after your comment.

    @Hoyacon, my wife is 77 years old, but she isn’t a veteran so she couldn’t get a shot at the VA hospital.

    Thanks.  I was wondering if they sort of “grandfathered” in spouses of veterans, which would be OK by me.

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    At our Wednesday evening church service four of us were talking about getting shots. Two of us had our shots, and two of us are waiting. I’ve had mine through our local health system (My wife was fortunate enough to find out in time that a few hundred slots were available) and the other guy got his at the VA. Another of us is also a veteran, but he said he didn’t want to go to the VA and deal with all that. He wanted to wait for other openings.  He’s about your age, and not in perfect health.  So if it was that simple for you, I wonder just what my older friend was talking about. Our VA is not known as one of the bad ‘uns.

    • #7
  8. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Thank you both for your service and for being part of the herd :)

    • #8
  9. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    At our Wednesday evening church service four of us were talking about getting shots. Two of us had our shots, and two of us are waiting. I’ve had mine through our local health system (My wife was fortunate enough to find out in time that a few hundred slots were available) and the other guy got his at the VA. Another of us is also a veteran, but he said he didn’t want to go to the VA and deal with all that. He wanted to wait for other openings. He’s about your age, and not in perfect health. So if it was that simple for you, I wonder just what my older friend was talking about. Our VA is not known as one of the bad ‘uns.

    Retic, I’ve always been treated well at the Portland VA Hospital.  The people are friendly and the place runs efficiently.  

    So you’re part of the herd too.  Have you had your second shot?  Any reactions thus far?

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I’m almost the same as you, I’m 82 and served in an artillery unit but saw no combat, except I’ve had no contact with the VA since the 1970’s. I get mixed feelings when getting thanks for service since I’m still an avid anti-Communist and I’m not sure that’s in vogue.

    By the way, I’m reading a novel and a character made a reference to a favourite Labrador, Bob, and I thought of you and Bob right away.

    • #10
  11. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    By the way, I’m reading a novel and a character made a reference to a favourite Labrador, Bob, and I thought of you and Bob right away.

    No wonder, you’ve always liked my Bob. 

    • #11
  12. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Most emergency workers here (me included) received the first Moderna shot New Year’s Eve morning.  We all had sore arms and at 3 AM on New Year’s day we were at a big fire.  While we waited for some more equipment we started knocking a hole in a wall with axes and sledgehammers and everyone said they arms felt better.  We all get the second shot this Thursday. One of our paramedics got the shot about two weeks earlier than everyone else and said the second one gave her a fever for about 24 hours. 

    • #12
  13. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I appreciate your becoming part of the herd. The more herd, I hope the less fear of interacting as real people. I am too young, not a veteran, and in good health, so I don’t qualify for the vaccine.

    My cousin (who is older than I am and thus qualifies for the vaccine) went to a mass distribution site (something like 2000 per day). The vaccination administration took over a convention center and its parking garage. Although the vaccination itself was brief (plus the 15 minute post injection waiting time), he said the whole screening, parking, waiting, etc. took about 90 minutes.

    • #13
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Wife and I got our shots last night at the football stadium.  Drive thru running 24/7.  Two minutes after getting shot we had emails with link to schedule second shots which will be in mid-Feb.

    • #14
  15. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    My understanding is that, as with many 2-dose vaccines (e.g., the shingles vaccine), the second one is the one with the side effects.

    Law, I think you’re right. My nurse told me that she ended up in bed after the second shot.

    Did she say who she ended up in bed with?

    • #15
  16. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I’m almost the same as you, I’m 82 and served in an artillery unit but saw no combat, except I’ve had no contact with the VA since the 1970’s. I get mixed feelings when getting thanks for service since I’m still an avid anti-Communist and I’m not sure that’s in vogue.

    By the way, I’m reading a novel and a character made a reference to a favourite Labrador, Bob, and I thought of you and Bob right away.

    You guys are old. I was drafted in 1968 and served in a third world country, Augusta GA. I have never been eligible for VA medical benefits. I meet a fellow at a cocktail party’s while back that was a regional director of the VA. He claimed I was lucky not to be eligible, that I would live longer. I think Trump changed that metric.

    • #16
  17. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I’m almost the same as you, I’m 82 and served in an artillery unit but saw no combat, except I’ve had no contact with the VA since the 1970’s. I get mixed feelings when getting thanks for service since I’m still an avid anti-Communist and I’m not sure that’s in vogue.

    By the way, I’m reading a novel and a character made a reference to a favourite Labrador, Bob, and I thought of you and Bob right away.

    You guys are old. I was drafted in 1968 and served in a third world country, Augusta GA. I have never been eligible for VA medical benefits. I meet a fellow at a cocktail party’s while back that was a regional director of the VA. He claimed I was lucky not to be eligible, that I would live longer. I think Trump changed that metric.

    I took basic training at Fort Gordon and I think @kentforrester spent time there, too. I used veterans benefits to finish my undergraduate degree and then for my masters. I did get a VA mortgage loan and that’s it.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I appreciate your becoming part of the herd. The more herd, I hope the less fear of interacting as real people. I am too young, not a veteran, and in good health, so I don’t qualify for the vaccine.

    The first to get vaccinated in my family was our youngest son, who is in his 30s. He said it was a program for federal workers, so he took advantage of it. I didn’t give him a hard time about his position of privilege. The more people who are vaccinated, the better.

    • #18
  19. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Glad you are ok and no side effects so far.  !!

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    So you’re part of the herd too. Have you had your second shot? Any reactions thus far?

    Second shot is coming up on Saturday. We were able to make appointments as soon as we got home from our vaccination.  No real reactions so far for either of us. The vaccination spot was sore for a day or so, but it didn’t limit any activities.  Sometimes when I feel a bit “off” I blame it on the vaccine, but at my age I’m often feeling a bit off. 

    There is a lot of talk these days about the slowness of the vaccine rollout, and some pundits are looking for someone to blame.  The CDC page says 41,411,550 vaccines have been distributed, but only 21,848,655 percent have been administered.  But I think the ratio of administered/distributed is up over what it was a few days ago. The count of vaccines distributed was under 40,000,000 the last time I looked (yesterday).  So it’s coming along, and I don’t think Biden has had a chance to mess it up yet.

    Some may think administration is too slow. So did I, at first. But I’ve been following a few counties in Michigan and Minnesota very carefully, and I don’t think there is a single point of failure that can be fixed by a simple command from on high.

    In the beginning I was all in favor of careful prioritization, and to some extent was not disturbed by those who wanted to do it on racial grounds. E.g. if African-Americans are big spreaders because of living conditions and/or genetic predisposition, by all means vax them first if they want it. There is a case to be made for vaxing the most vulnerable first, but it also helps all of us to vax the big spreaders first.

    But then I saw that complicated prioritization meant delays in administration. When those prioritizations were relaxed somewhat in Michigan I at first thought it would help, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. So I started paying close attention to the day-by-day numbers, and also to pay attention to scheduling.

    One of the problems is inventory. One person on Twitter called it “hoarding,” but is it really?  We don’t have a just-in-time delivery system for vaccine. Providers are using the vaccines as they become available, but it’s an unpredictable schedule. It’s hard for a provider to set up a round of vaccinations until it knows the vaccine is available, and then it has to make sure facilities are available. My vaccination was in an old gym. The building isn’t heavily scheduled, but it’s not sitting idle to be available on a moment’s notice. And it takes people. At my vaccination place the people with needles made up no more than 1/4 of the total number of workers on site. Workers’ schedules have to be rearranged to do it. In the case of the hospital/clinic system where I got mine, I suspect they are pulled off of more lucrative money-making activities to do vaccine duty. And in this country we’ve decided not to risk doing that 2nd shot outside the schedule that was tested for the FDA.  So our hospital system seems to be “hoarding” enough vaccines to give our batch of patients vaccines two weeks after the first one.  If there was a just-in-time delivery system and it knew it would be getting a sufficient delivery of vaccines on Friday to give us our vaccine on Saturday, as scheduled, it could use up what they have on hand to give more people their first shot now. But it is not possible to have that kind of guarantee of just-in-time delivery.

    A lot of these things could be improved. After all, some states and counties are doing better than others. But it’s not a night-and-day difference. Maybe the vaccination sites could get by with fewer workers, which might make scheduling easier. But it would be a small improvement, not a big one.  And so on.  Maybe the paperwork could be simplified, but that didn’t seem to be a significant thing where I saw it. At our site they vaxed first and asked questions later. If it was simpler, maybe they could get by with one less person at the station where they collected information. 

    If we were doing this in more of a free-market system, maybe there would be more of an incentive to make small improvements that would add up. But that would take time, too. 

    So people who want a big, simple fix are probably not going to find it, and they are entirely capable of making things worse with their meddling. I used to run into the big fix mindset at my university workplace. When there were budget problems, those on high would look for a big, simple fix. I’d point out some small things that would gain a percentage or two efficiency here and there on my portion of the budget, but that wasn’t what they wanted. Only big, dramatic fixes were wanted.  That’s the way it is with politicians, too.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Not even a sore arm?? Bragger . . . 

    • #21
  22. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Glad you got vaccinated.  The key point of being a veteran is you gave a blank check to Uncle Sam.   Not your fault that Uncle filled it in for the minimum two bits — you gave Uncle the check,  how he filled it out is his problem.      I appreciate your service to Ricochet, and to civility and conservatism in general.  As well as you being an entertaining writer.

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Would you guys quit thanking me. Now just stop it. I was drafted and ended up a supply clerk. Wait, I suppose you can thank me only if you’re being ironic. So you might put a little smiley face after your comment.

    @Hoyacon, my wife is 77 years old, but she isn’t a veteran so she couldn’t get a shot at the VA hospital.

    I wouldn’t dream of thanking you for your service (🤣), but I do want to pay homage to Marie’s service.  How long have the two of you been married, again?

    • #23
  24. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Would you guys quit thanking me. Now just stop it. I was drafted and ended up a supply clerk. Wait, I suppose you can thank me only if you’re being ironic. So you might put a little smiley face after your comment.

    @Hoyacon, my wife is 77 years old, but she isn’t a veteran so she couldn’t get a shot at the VA hospital.

    I wouldn’t dream of thanking you for your service (🤣), but I do want to pay homage to Marie’s service. How long have the two of you been married, again?

    Ha ha. You kid.  Always the kidder. 

    • #24
  25. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    KentForrester:

    I’m a veteran. (Yes, yes, I know you want to thank me for my service. Never mind. I was a supply clerk, for goodness sake. I got a paper cut once (hurt like the dickens), but I never got within a thousand miles of a battlefield. In fact. I only scored Marksman on the rifle range, the lowest of three classifications, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to hit the foe with a bullet even if the Army had shipped me off to Afghanistan.)

    Afghanistan? I’m pretty sure that when you were in the Army, their main duty was still protecting settlers from with the Plains Indians.

     

    • #25
  26. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    KentForrester:

    I’m a veteran. (Yes, yes, I know you want to thank me for my service. Never mind. I was a supply clerk, for goodness sake. I got a paper cut once (hurt like the dickens), but I never got within a thousand miles of a battlefield. In fact. I only scored Marksman on the rifle range, the lowest of three classifications, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to hit the foe with a bullet even if the Army had shipped me off to Afghanistan.)

    Afghanistan? I’m pretty sure that when you were in the Army, their main duty was still protecting settlers from with the Plains Indians.

    You guys!  A couple of real Milton Berles. (You youngsters do know who Uncle Miltie, the famous cross dressing comedian, was don’t you?)

    • #26
  27. AlanForrester Lincoln
    AlanForrester
    @AlanForrester

    KentForrester: Then I had to sit in a chair for fifteen minutes, at the end of which a young man came over and asked me if I felt woozy.

    You didn’t faint after your shot?! I’m surprised, I thought that you had a history of such things.

    • #27
  28. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    AlanForrester (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Then I had to sit in a chair for fifteen minutes, at the end of which a young man came over and asked me if I felt woozy.

    You didn’t faint after your shot?! I’m surprised, I thought that you had a history of such things.

    I’m tougher than I used to be.

    • #28
  29. Joe Boyle Member
    Joe Boyle
    @JoeBoyle

    I went through MP School at Ft Gordon. I had never seen such poverty before that bus ride from the Augusta air port to Ft Gordon.

    • #29
  30. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Wait, what?  Veterans can get the shot now?  I’m going!

     

    Edit/update:  The VA in my area is only giving vaccines to the normal high risk categories.  Normal veterans need not apply.

    • #30
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