Vaccination time – To be, or not to be, that is the question:

What a strange twelve months it’s been. After a year of Covid I’ve just been notified of my vaccination appointment. Thankfully I don’t know anyone who’s had their ventilator switched off, only to die shortly afterwards under heavy sedation, isolated from loved ones, but many do.

Of the 4.14 million cases so far registered in the UK, 122 thousand have died, 95% being over 60 and more often than not having co-morbidity factors. But now practically everyone in that demographic has been inoculated, and with cases falling rapidly, I neither feel at risk, nor believe I pose much of a risk. I do though feel uncertain about having synthetically encoded genetic material inserted directly inserted into my body’s cells: the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are radically different in how they produce an immune response, and are unlike any others used before. Also, though all of them have emergency authorisation and seem safe and effective, none are fully approved by regulatory bodies. I wonder if this new mass GM tech might require generations before it’s fully evaluated. I haven’t before had a problem with being vaccinated or vaccinating my kids, but this time it strikes me as being fundamentally different.

Is vaccination an act of self preservation, common sense, social responsibility, conformity, I don’t know, but it’s always been a polarising issue. With talk of injections becoming an annual event, maybe for most of us, it’s better to be exposed, risk recovery, and contribute to mother nature’s tried and trusted method of combatting disease: battle hardened immune systems and herd immunity. That is unless we can’t bear the prospect of death? Can’t cope with life being a risky business?

This post’s cover image is taken from one of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction novel: Oryx and Crake. It’s a story about genetic engineering and global pandemic and though science fiction definitely isn’t science fact, it’s often prophetic.

More immediate is the prospect of discriminating against people who haven’t been vaccinated. I wouldn’t be surprised if employment, travel, event attendance and plumbers might all in future require a “valid vaccination”. Remember “Frankenstein food” and Monsanto’s GM terminator seeds that were made infertile, ostensibly to stop modified genes contaminating the gene pool, but which meant farmers also had to buy more to plant next year. It’s complicated, but big pharma’ is powerful and definitely not-for-profit.

It also raises for me a political dilemma, as, unlike the Labour party, the libertarian Torys aren’t in favour of compulsory inoculation. However one thing is certain, in this small, elderly, rural, Tory voting community, being one of the 22% who’re anti jab isn’t a good look.

Taking one for the team

If we really cared about our elders shouldn’t we do better than house them in under resourced care homes which along with the rest of health and social services have endured savage cuts under successive Tory governments. Shouldn’t nursing and care work be a better rewarded and more valued occupation? I struggled to hang out my window and clap our brave key workers along with those who’ve consistently voted to diminish them – the hypocrisy stuck in my craw.

The state of elderly care – the day room of one of the wards in Severalls psychiatric hospital (1913-97) it wasn’t much better when it was home to 2000 “patients”
(mainly women)

This past year has brought great change. Many won’t work again, and it’s likely seen the death blow to town and city centres, retail, banking institutions and many churches. Masks and “stranger danger” will be with us for the foreseeable future. On the plus side we’ll learn most of what we need from Youtube, and video calling, staycationing, home deliveries and working from home will all mean less carbon in the atmosphere. We might even get to know our neighbours, organise locally, buy less stuff and even value the things money can’t buy – we’ll see, but it’s an ill wind that blows no good.

Now “To be, or not to be, that is the question:”
Update – I did.

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