• Jose Arrieta

Today I got my vaccine

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Today I got my vaccine.

Today I got a vaccine for COVID, a disease that had thoroughly altered my society.

Today I got one of the handful of vaccines against the novel Corona Virus SARS-COV2. A true feat of ingenuity and scientific prowess. This vaccine brings the promise of hope in the darkness that came in wake of a disease that uprooted my society and the way I live my life.

Today I went to a football stadium, parked my car, and followed a sea of people. After five minutes, I had a band-aid in my arm. Just like millions of others around the world on this day, we got our COVID vaccine! This vaccine is the second messenger RNA vaccine ever to accepted by drug administrations. The offspring of decades of silent basic research that just as Zoom, eMail, and the Internet made it so that our time apart could be shortened. This plague has brought darkness to our world but helps to contextualize our true greatness and our flaws. We are a species that has completely changed the face of the Earth, we have the power to go to the moon and solve a pandemic but not in a way that minimizes suffering. Today, for me, it is a day of hope, less than 18 months in this plague, I joined the billion other people who have had at least one shot of freedom.

Today, I went to one of the vaccination centers that pepper our world at the moment. We complain but one in seven of us have already gotten at least one dose of a miracle by another name. Thousands of people work arduously to administer these vaccines to as many people as doses they have available. Dozens of factories around the world work around the clock to produce as many doses as possible in a feat of engineering that pushes the frontier of bioengineering. Around 18 months ago, we found an increase in the cases of pneumonia in a province of China. Within weeks, we found a way of diagnosing the disease and accounting for the cases. We then managed to read each and every part of the DNA of this disease. After this, our society poured resources to create a vaccine. Messenger RNA vaccines employed utterly tiny machines to replicate a specific part of the DNA of our disease, their spike proteins. We then managed to scale the production, build controlled trials, administer what can only be called hope to thousands of participants to double-blind experiments, and found joy when the treatment group got the disease 20 times less than the control group. Then factories scaled production even more and in less than six months, a.ka. today, I managed to get my vaccine. I was not even in a priority group. I was preceded by over a billion others. All of this is nothing short of a miracle. A decade ago, mRNA vaccines were too novel and untested to build a vaccine. The only mRNA vaccines that exist are against SARS-COV2. A decade ago, our society would have been disrupted on a much larger scale. We lacked the miles of fiber optics required to transition our knowledge work to our homes, the software required to create stable communities online, and the tried and tested knowledge that people can work from home. All this happened in the last decade and thank the SARS-COV2 virus for its timeliness. Do not mistake me, I am the last to thank COVID for anything. It completely disrupted my life. I am an immigrant and was in a long-distance relationship during this pandemic. This tiny single strand of nucleotides disrupted my life and made me feel worthless more than anything in my life. It made me see how little we care for others. Yet, today is a day of hope and to marvel in its beauty and ingenuity. In less, than a year our species managed to create a cure for a novel disease. We struggled through it but the fact that we managed it shows the genius of the human mind. Today is a day for hope.

Tomorrow, I will still be worried. But I will see the end of my personal tunnel. I can see differently; I can care more for others. Tomorrow is another day. One filled with questions and decisions. This pandemic wreaked havoc with my life and my psyche, my work life, and my migration status. But just as I now got my vaccine, clarity is also in the works for all the other trouble. As the light seeps into my horizon, questions come to mind. What can we do to care more for others? We care enough for our loved ones but what about the delivery person who brings your food, the people who pack the meat you eat, the migrant that builds your buildings. What about the naïve people who defy the norms and decide to love each other at a distance? As the pandemic comes to a close, I wish for me to remember how feels to be tiny.

Tomorrow, I will still be around. My fears will dwindle. My hope will grow, I will care about other pressing matters. The weather will become my enemy again. I will worry about my allergies or the quality of my food. But I hope I will remember how to feels to be a speck of dust in the waves of history.

Tomorrow, my life will go on a new normal will settle in. Yet, I hope I will remember 2020.

Tomorrow, I hope to remember.

Update 21.12.17: Today I got my first booster! The fact that tiny molecular factories were built to spit out a life-saving serum is still mindblowing to me

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