Today was the first day I became eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. I’m at high risk and in group 1c for a pile of reasons. I had been checking and re-checking the various vaccine appointment sign-up web sites all weekend, to no avail.
I’m a hardened survivor; but, you know, that doesn’t mean I want to test fate on purpose. So I’ve been sheltering in place for over a year, with yet another round of medical adventures last Summer, venturing outside as rarely as possible and coming into contact only with my immediate SF family (who have observed the same precautions).
By chance, yesterday evening, a friend who has been volunteering at the Moscone Center mass vaccination site pointed me to the web site and said I could get an appointment just then. So I mashed the buttons real fast and indeed I got an appointment for today!
The whole thing was run incredibly smoothly. Even though the place was full (within the limits of safe distancing) and the lines were long, everything moved as quickly as possible and the whole process took not much longer than it takes to walk in. I walked right up to the moving line, got to the door, in the building, signed in, down the escalators to the convention floor (where there were speakers set up and blasting Janelle!!), to a big ol’ hall with well-spaced chairs and some high-energy volunteers cheering and directing traffic. Everyone was pretty happy, because fuckin’ science, right?! I sat for about 5 minutes before it was my turn, and then I was gently but unceremoniously jabbed. Then everyone has to sit for 15 minutes in case they have an allergic reaction or other side-effect. (Nobody had any trouble that I could see while I was there.)
More Janelle on the way out. Then I just went home as if it were a normal day.
But it was absolutely not a normal day. It was a triumph of science, and just as importantly it is a triumph of civic pride and care for fellow people. We can solve collective action problems, and provide public goods like public health — if we want to. It took a crisis to shake us awake, and we have to work against the simultaneous crisis of an ideology dedicated to not solving collective action problems and not providing public goods.
But it’s really happening. This is the first time in a year that I have really felt, at a gut level, that we might someday get through this.
Once I’ve got my second dose (already scheduled!) and am feeling safe, I’m going to volunteer too. I’m feeling grateful, once again, for my incredible medical luck. It’s a happy duty to help some other people get their luck.