There are a lot of often conflicting emails that evade my spam/junk folder on the old inter-webs device. I say this because I’m not sure the computer can tell the difference between what I want and what I don’t want to spend my time reading. But rather than complain about the computer being a less than perfect gatekeeper, I guess I should admit that in most cases I have to actually read at least part of all those emails in order to decide myself whether to open the gate or slam it shut and weld it closed.

I literally get emails about how to showcase my business in the media … but at least those are good for a chuckle or two.

So, I read a lot. I read (at least part of) whatever comes down the electronic pike, I read the replies to emails I have sent, I read the press releases I have personally requested, and I read a host of other things that are “spontaneously” generated by whatever I happen to be researching at any given time. Normally this isn’t a problem because I enjoy reading and learning useful or potentially useful stuff; I even — *gasp* — read for “fun.” Who knew?

But aside from learning, potential enjoyment, or in support of the garden variety internet troll, sometimes reading is one of the most important things that we can do. This is especially true with important issues, because we can’t be well informed if we can’t get information. And if we aren’t well-informed, then the potential for error grows exponentially. So, I try my best to absorb all the information I can like some giant, caffeine-animated sponge before I decide one way or another on most things. And this is the pattern I followed when it was first announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine was available.

Keep in mind that we (pretty much everyone else, too) have been talking about just this thing since last March. During that time everyone from the CDC to the guy who sells the “really good” firecrackers out of the trunk of his Buick has weighed in on if vaccines are real, are they safe, do you need them, or are they in fact alien mind control? And my somewhat somnolent gatekeeper has let each and every one of these through the filters to dance in all their dubious glory across my desktop. Yay me.

Now, being quite the stubborn sort and understanding that the good sometimes get lost in the bad, I have read most of them. The picture I slowly (and painfully) put together after all of the research allowed me to form an opinion that I am comfortable with. I’ll tell you that opinion, and I’m prepared to defend it if I need to do so. But before I do, I’ll say that the information is out there, and you are free to form an opinion all your own — in fact, I encourage it.

First off, I can’t really speak to the alien mind control thing because, although the “truth is out there,” no one has produced any hard proof. Next, given that smallpox (and other, horrible things) is no longer devastating the country, it is safe to assume that vaccines are in fact real. And they are also beyond any prototype phase as well; thanks to Edward Jenner, Hilary Koprowski, Jonas Salk and their colleagues, these things have been in production since the 1950s. It stands to reason that by 2021 they have got better at making them. And there is the obvious thought, if you don’t have to contract a potentially fatal disease, why would you take the chance?

So, I decided to get the vaccine. This past Thursday I drove down to the KDMC Pavilion for my first scheduled shot of the Moderna vaccine, and the first thing I noticed was the absence of alien life forms, or even the ubiquitous Men in Black. Something of a letdown, really, although I suppose I could convince myself they were all in disguise. 

Actually, though, what I found was hard working health professionals who paid close attention to social distancing and safety guidelines. I filled out a minor amount of paperwork (none of which was I required to sign in blood), visited three different stations, and the received a shot that was virtually painless. The whole process, including my fifteen-minute wait after the shot, was around 30 minutes. The only “sketchy” looking person there at all was the one I saw in the parking lot; but that was just me reflected in the window as I unlocked the car door.

The next day, I have to admit, my arm was a bit sore, but no more so than it would have been if I had just slept on it wrong the night before — but don’t tell my wife, because I have been playing it up for sympathy. And this is (not the sympathy thing) what most people can expect. There is a potential for allergic reaction, and there have been recorded cases of these, but for the most part there are no, or just minor, side effects. And I think that is a small price indeed to pay for helping to keep ourselves and others safe. And I’ll be back for Round 2 next month.

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