Vaccine Hunters, Attack!

I have been watching rather enviously the US and UK recover from their terrible decision-making around lockdowns and COVID response to absolutely nail the vaccine roll-out. Meanwhile, in Canada, or at least here in BC, things were been managed very professionally and there was long-term certainty to how we respond – until we got to the vaccines.

Slow and steady seems to be the approach, despite Canada mass purchasing vaccines at the early stages of the pandemic. I have been sitting on my hands, seeing new cohorts being invited in, patiently waiting my turn. Then, the AZ vaccine blood clot hold was reversed and suddenly there was a swell of vaccines ready on every corner, in every pharmacy.

It took me a few days to reflect, yes, I do want it (with the slight risk). Me and 100k others it seemed. Suddenly, rumours of 10 doses in location X lead to a stampede to the pharmacy. I heard spare doses from a mass vaccination site were going spare and headed down. The line up was longish, I went back home. Later that day, Lori drove past the same venue and decided to see if there were any spare, she got one of the last ones. Suddenly, I had FOMO. What had I done by not waiting an hour in line?!

Someone told me, don’t worry, they have a load spare and will be open tomorrow. I headed down at opening time to find the line wrapped around 5 blocks. I was suddenly a bag of nerves. Rather than wait until my age cohort hit (in maybe 2 weeks?) I had the bit between my teeth. I HAD TO GET VACCINATED NOW!

Oh, sorry, we are not taking drop-ins today, they told 1000 people after waiting for an hour. I went for a run at the end of the day and decided to run around the venue. Just before closing for the day I stood with about 10 others hoping they had some last-minute cancellations. The medics were looking us over from afar and came over – they had three no-shows. I was 4th in line.

Now, I was researching sites, following twitter handles – “Vaccine Hunters!” I joined a Discord group. This week, I was waiting for the 3pm BC COVID figures to be announced; refreshing twitter every minute. I checked in on the Discord group, and – boom! – a Shoppers’ Drugmart at the university was taking appointments for over 40s. I rang the number – engaged, and engaged! I googled the location and found another number – engaged too!

One last go – and I got through. “Yeah, give me your name, see you tomorrow” the pharmacist said, relaxed like I was picking up a prescription. I arrived, no line-up, straight in. “Stick around the store for 10 minutes,” the pharmacist said. I browsed the store like I was picking up some advil and band-aids and a bag of chips.

Done. Just like that.

My head space around the pandemic and the release from it had spiked from nowhere over a period of a week. And now, I am back to resting state. I share because the irrationality of my response – suspicion that I would miss out, regret that I had missed my opportunity – came from nowhere and disappeared again. Any wonder why the discourse around COVID is so emotional! I was caught up in the frenzy, for a brief moment over 16 months. I prefer the boring Dr. Bonnie updates: Be kind, be calm, be safe everyone.

This Much We Know.

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