I did not realize how much COVID-19 was weighing on me until I got my vaccine last week.
I am not an alarmist by any means and aside from following the protocols set out by the provincial health officer, Black Press and taking into consideration other people’s personal levels of comfort, my day-to-day life hasn’t really changed dramatically over the past 12 months.
I have felt very fortunate to have been in the Bulkley Valley where the prevalence of the disease has been relatively low throughout.
I also have a very strong immune system and, despite being of (ahem) shall we say advancing years, I am still not in what one would consider a high-risk demographic.
I’ve also been completely immersed in this thing from day one, so I have an in-depth understanding of the statistical and medical aspects of it.
Even if I had been infected, I had a high level of confidence it would be mildly to extremely unpleasant, but not life-threatening. And, even if it had been, well, que sera, sera.
The bottom line is, my comfort level throughout the pandemic has been pretty high for all of those reasons.
Even so, I very seriously did not want to contract it and booked my vaccine appointment for the earliest possible date.
The sense of relief I’ve felt since then, though, caught me by surprise. Yes, I am fully aware the effectiveness of the Pfizer product is initially only 52 per cent, rising to 92 per cent within 14 to 21 days and 95 per cent after the second dose.
But combined with continuing observance of hand-sanitizing, mask-wearing, distancing, gathering and travel measures, I just feel a level of comfort I haven’t known since last summer when we had a respite between the first and second waves.
A big part of the relief is not so much a sense of being personally protected as it somehow makes the light at the end of the tunnel so much brighter for all of us. According to the original B.C. schedule, my age cohort was not supposed to be immunized until July. Now it looks like all adults (who want it) in B.C. will have had their first shot by July.
In other jurisdictions, we are seeing just how dramatically effective vaccination programs are. In Israel, the United States and the UK, where nearly 60 per cent of the populations have been immunized, daily case counts have fallen off a cliff and they are rapidly approaching herd immunity.
In Smithers, the immunization experience itself was excellent. The Coast Mountain College clinic is a very professionally and compassionately run operation. Kudos to all the health care pros and volunteers making that work for all of us.
Personally, I experienced none of the potential side effects of the shot. I was aware of the shot site on my shoulder the next day, but I would not describe it as sore.
The only 0dd thing I noticed was an inexplicable urge to switch from the Google Chrome web browser to Internet Explorer.
Not sure what that’s about; it’s probably unrelated.