I went to medical school for many reasons. The intrigues of science held particular allure in my young imagination from an early age. Couple that with the chance to make a difference in people’s lives, to be relied on, to be needed and a life serving through medicine beckoned. When my brother was a toddler, he was bitten on the hand by a small prairie rattlesnake and he spent 2 weeks in the ICU in Amarillo. My parents, their countenances awash with fear in the face of uncertainty, found comfort in the expertise found in that hospital; life saving application of science along with a heavy dose of altruism. He survived that ordeal and is a civil engineer, a husband and also a father to a beautiful young little girl who is a light this world would not have seen were it not for the field of Medicine.
Science stimulates my cognition but it’s not enough to fulfill my calling alone. Love of science mixed with an even stronger altruism stirs my soul and drives me to care for the denizens of Erath County and beyond. I love you, Erath. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I practice medicine. And today I committed an act of love that fulfills my altruistic calling as much as anything I have done since I moved here.
I got the shot.
Yep, THAT shot.
The Pfizer one.
Pfizer and BioIntech (and soon to be Moderna) have pulled off a modern day medical miracle. They’ve developed a safe vaccine with over 96% effectiveness in a medical microsecond. They didn’t skip steps. They didn’t cut corners. They studied it in 44,000 individual heroes who were willing to take a risk to help protect us and have given us hope on the face of our quarantined, masked and socially distanced despair. Will there be vaccine reactions? You bet there will be. But they’ll be few and minor. No vaccine is without risk. But if you’re concerned about risk, you can’t look at only one side of the coin. The other side of that coin is the risk of not getting the shot. I can say unequivocally that more people will be hurt if we don’t get it. It’s more risky to look inwardly and let unfounded fear keep you from protecting yourself and your neighbors.
As I type this article I can’t even feel the injection site. I didn’t feel the needle when it was injected and I barely felt the mRNA particles infiltrating my subcutaneous tissues. Should I have a side effect I’ll report it via the avenues provided so more data can be collected about vaccine administration. I welcome any and all questions about my personal experience with the vaccine or what I know about it’s development and safety. Doctors are, after all educators, first. We educate in order to heal and protect.
I didn’t get the vaccine for me. I got it for my elderly and immunocompromised patients who I encounter on a daily basis in the clinic. I got it for my nursing home patients so I can visit them once again without fear that I will bring them a deadly virus. I got it so I can visit my parents and in-laws and not worry that they’ll end up in the hospital because I was an asymptomatic carrier. I got it for you, Erath. And if you truly love your friends and neighbors, you’ll get one, too.
Love your neighbor,