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Editor's column: Getting AZ jab shortens line for others

Richmond News editor Eve Edmonds shares her experience with the controversial AstraZeneca covid vaccine
getting vaccination
Jodie Jackman, 46, was accepting the COVID-19 vaccine.

So I got the shot last Friday.

My pharmacist called Thursday at about 7 p.m. to say she had just received a shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

My husband and I were at her counter at 9 a.m. the next morning — sleeves rolled up.

While we couldn’t get there fast enough, I won’t deny, there was some trepidation prior. The weekend before, we had put our names on the wait list which led to plenty of discussion about blood clots, efficacy, and, of course, the all-important Michigan kidding, this actually came up.

As the U.S. hasn’t approved AZ yet, and there’s talk of needing to show a vaccine card to enter some venues like, oh say, University of Michigan’s football stadium, a certain someone wondered aloud if he’d be denied entrance if/when he made his annual pilgrimage to the Big House, as it’s known in college lore.

...Nothing like priorities.

Football aside, there are valid reasons to give some thought to getting any jab, and this one is no exception. What’s concerning are the unknowns. We don’t know, for example, if the rate of blood clots is going to increase significantly (at this point, we’re at one in more than 700,000 in Canada.) Or, if another dire condition could emerge.

However, there are also a lot of knowns, one of which is the fact this virus, which has already taken the lives of almost three million people around the world, will continue to mutate and become even deadlier the longer it circulates in populations.

I could have waited, maybe a week or so, before my age group would be eligible to book an appointment at a government clinic where I would get either Pfizer or Moderna, but time is of the essence.

And now the real reason.

I wanted the vaccine for myself, but I want it even more for my 20-something kids.

Heart-breaking scenes of elderly people being ravaged in long-term care homes are quickly being replaced with stories of 30-somethings on ventilators saying their final farewell to family over Zoom, as one doctor recently described it on CBC.

These variants are deadlier and hitting younger people. As more of us who are eligible for AstraZeneca step out of the lineup for Pfizer and Moderna, the sooner those vaccines can get to my kids, your kids and every other young person who still has so much of their life ahead of them.

Moreover, these young people are more likely to be on the frontlines. Childcare advocate Nicky Byres notes how most of their workers are in their 20s and 30s, dealing with kids who are still learning how to wash their hands, yet those workers are slated to be among the last vaccinated. (Page 11)

And then there’s the mental health.

I’m living in a full house, but even so, I’m missing the odd drink with friends or dinner with extended family.

That said, I can manage. I didn’t exactly have a rockin’ social life before the pandemic, so a Friday night walk and Saturday night watching Netflix isn’t going to kill me. But that wouldn’t have been the case in my 20s, or even 30s.

At that time, I was desperate to get out of my parent’s suburban home, travel, socialize and meet the world. It’s not just about dancing on tables, although that kind of exuberance can be part of it, it’s about that feeling of exploding onto the scene.

Of course that can’t happen now, and I’m not making excuses for some truly outrageous behaviour — behaviour, I’ll add, the vast majority of young people do not engage in. But I can understand the impulse and recognize how tough this pandemic is, particularly on that group.

All this is to say, the dose of Pfizer or Moderna that I don’t take is one more dose for those who don’t have another choice. It sounds altruistic, but not overly so, given I’m more likely to die in a car accident than from a vaccine-induced blood clot  — and yet I still drive.

Now we just have to worry about getting into that Michigan game.