This week, thousands of health care workers will roll up their sleeves — not just to continue the labor of caring for their COVID-19-infected patients — but to bare an arm for the vaccine.
It’s an amazing achievement. One we need to stop and acknowledge our part in before we get back to our critical business.
A year ago, where were we? Rushing around, preparing for the holidays? Attending staff meetings in the conference room? Working out at the gym? Meeting friends at the bar? Bowling, gambling, taking the kids to playdates and going out to dinner?
We had no idea what was coming in those Before Times. The last 10 months of upheaval, disruption and loss cleaved us from each other in rifts that require more than two shots to repair.
Yet already several vaccines exist that are up to 95 percent effective in trials. They are already making their way into communities, and through government approval processes. The Pfizer vaccine is already in the arms of thousands of health care workers nationwide.
This achievement is one we all played a part in. To accomplish this historic milestone required innovations in logistics, HVAC, the invention of the bifurcated needle. It needed robotics, telecommunications and contributions from every sector under headings of infrastructure, administration, safety and public health. Also, money. Our country invested $12 billion (roughly equivalent to the 2018 farm relief package; what we spent on hurricane/wildfire response since 2017 or the 98 F-35 strike fighter aircraft we acquired this year, according to Time magazine).
In short we’ve all played a role. Sacrifices were made, and will continue to be made by all of us so that we could have the pleasure of enjoying this hopeful moment. And we should, because we got here together.
What comes next will also be a product of our togetherness, as that’s the only way to break COVID-19’s deadly hold on our most vulnerable populations.
Researcher Moncef Slaoui, who works with Gen. Gustave Perna in the Operation Warp Speed vaccine effort, told Fox this weekend that 75 to 80 percent of Americans need to be immunized to substantially slow the spread of COVID-19.
We will need to again work together to make this happen. So today, we should share in owning the myriad factors that made this possible.
Tomorrow we can parse, but today, we can marvel at what we can accomplish together.