Kelly is just about to head off to work, but on the way, she is stopping off for a very special appointment.
As a front line healthcare worker Kelly will be receiving her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine today.
She will be amongst the first groups to get the vaccine in Australia.
It seems like only yesterday Kelly and I was travelling through Victoria, wondering if we were being overly alarmist amidst increasing concerns about the global spread of the virus.
And here we are. Today, Reuters News reports America has passed 500,000 deaths from COVID 19.
An unimaginable, incomprehensible milestone only a year after the first known US victim was reported in California.
It is reported that around 19% of total global coronavirus deaths have occurred in the US, a country that is home to 4% of the world’s population.
I have no illusions about the privilege afforded to us to be in a position where we can live in a country that has tracked relatively unscathed through this pandemic. A country where the healthcare infrastructure provides timely access to a vaccine that offers evidence-based, protection for both individuals and the community as a whole.
There are so many people in the world who do not have the luxury of being able to socially distance, or initiate lock-downs, or access quality healthcare or have first world access to developed vaccines.
There will be many who are still going to die for lack of this privilege.
“Science appears calm and triumphant when it is completed; but science in the process of being done is only contradiction and torment, hope and disappointment.”－ Pierre Paul Émile Roux, French bacteriologist and developer of the first effective treatment for diphtheria”
We are not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.
But I want to pause and give a grateful thank you to all those unknown, invisible people who have worked during the midst of a pandemic, to develop, manufacture, distribute and administer vaccines throughout the world.
No doubt a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears has been shed behind closed lab doors to achieve this.
Scientists, researchers, lab technicians, healthcare workers, factory workers, public health workers, truck drivers, all those complex inter-relationships that must come together to build an effective chain of rescue.
To this, an admixture of everyday people, of quiet householders and noisy neighbours, teachers, bakers, students, professionals, labourers and artists and all the rest…each of whom has done what needed to be done….and some who have sacrificed greatly.
A mass of stoically sensible people who put their quiet faith in the actual scientific evidence, and their actions in the service of the greater good. A community of ordinary people who’s combined humanity heat-signature is too often eclipsed by the empty suck-and-dazzle of baseless conspiracies and anti-vaccination misinformation.
But it is there. And it is bright. And we give grateful thanks.
So Kelly is off to get the jab.
She expects she will suffer some localised effects as her immune system is educated on COVID 19 self-defence.
No different to when she gets the flu vax each year.
A sore arm, aching joints, feeling generally a bit off-colour.
A minuscule price to pay to participate in denuding COVID of its power.
As for me? The Australian Government is prioritising people into 5 groups based on their occupations, age, and at-risk health status. Based on this, I am about 9 million people down the queue to roll up my sleeve.
But I am confident there are a metric shit-tonne of people working hard to get to me.
I am nothing if not patient.