I have decided that I’m going to receive my COVID-19 vaccine on April 10.
I don’t have an appointment yet, mind you. I don’t feel any urgency to engage with the mess of sign-up sites touted by my state and county. I don’t anticipate levitating from my current place in vaccination group 13(r) anytime soon, unless the list of underlying medical conditions that warrant a jump ahead is expanded to include turbo-accelerating baldness.
No, I just believe that, by April 10, the vaccine supply and demand curves will have flip-flopped, leaving vaccine enthusiasts like me to start rolling up our sleeves. Is it wishful thinking? Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Maybe. But that’s where I’m at right now.
And really: It’s not like there’s a whole lot else on the calendar. Thus I’ve booked a dental appointment for mid-May and a family excursion for June, deposits be damned. Come along, won’t you?
April 10. That’s the day. Can’t wait.
This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,791 words and will take you eight minutes to read.
There are many and they are profound, but we’re picking them off one by one.
- Nobody thinks vaccine production logistics are anything less than tremendously complicated, and yet we still vastly underestimate the magnitude of scientific and logistical achievement that these vaccines – again, PLURAL – represent.
- About 90 people in China were hospitalized with COVID-19 like symptoms in October 2019, two months before the virus was officially identified.
- MM+M’s Lecia Bushak analyzes the upcoming vaccination push in retail pharmacies. Given how embedded they are in many communities across the country, this has a real shot – pun richly intended – of making a real impact.
- In McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Danielle Brown reports on an American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living projection that the long-term care industry stands to lose $94 billion over a two-year period as a result of COVID-related costs and revenue losses.
- Rhode Island nailed its coronavirus response last year. It didn’t stick the vaccine-rollout landing.
- Double-masking works, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They’d probably know if it didn’t.
- The University of California at Berkeley has responded to a COVID spike on campus by putting into place a ban on solitary outdoor exercise. Prospective students wanting a science education grounded in evidence might want to evaluate other options.
- Reopening restaurants and/or increasing their maximum capacities: A bad idea then, a bad idea now, according to science. It is richly unfair to the owners of these businesses; the government needs to step up with additional support.
The takeaway: If you’re discouraged by the enormity of what’s ahead, you have two choices: Pitch in or get out of way. Here’s hoping you can be talked into the former.
The family circle
For all the challenges that have come with adding part-time jobs as virtual learning coordinator and household IT consultant to my full-time one – the crafting of this sentence was interrupted by a request to print out coloring pages of Boba Fett – I’ll miss it when the load is lifted.
- “Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September.” While this headline may prompt me and my fellow working parents of young kids to form an impromptu conga line and dance through the ‘hood, the story cautions that the pace of pediatric trials is lagging. Get on this, pharma.
- The Walgreens/Uber partnership to provide transportation to Walgreens-operated vaccination sites could prove a boon for independent living residents and others who have had a hard time navigating the unwieldy vaccination infrastructure, Lois A. Bowers reports in McKnight’s Senior Living.
- Related: A parent weighs in on her decision to send her child back to school. Everyone’s risk calculus is different; these are not easy times for making clear-eyed assessments.
- The pandemic has prompted some single women to reassess their roads to motherhood. COVID’s smaller tragedies are as gutting as its larger ones.
- In Medical Bag, Lina Zeldovich writes about a Harvard Medical School program that connects members of COVID-torn minority communities with students able to provide care and guidance.
- As more elder-care facility residents receive the vaccine, family members are pushing for more visits. I feel for the facility staff who are inevitably going to explain to vaccinated people why they can’t spend in-person time with vaccinated family members. What a disaster.
- “More People Are Choosing to Die at Home As Hospitals Limit Visitations Amid the Pandemic.” Just imagine the ethical quandaries that come with being in the hospice business right now.
The takeaway: Few families will emerge from this thing without some scars. Here’s hoping that yours is one of the fortunate ones.
On the bigger list of COVID-related grievances, this doesn’t register, nor should it. But man, I am so, so bored.
- Here’s a question: How eager are we to see movies about COVID? Eight of them are set to screen at this year’s virtual SXSW film festival. I’m not gonna blame anyone who opts instead for movies about speedy racecars or flatulent animated lemurs.
- My eyes glaze over anytime a headline begins with “Artists Reimagine…,” but this Wired examination of the post-COVID future of galleries and museums makes me excited for what comes next.
- In the wake of Instagram deplatforming Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for spreading misinformation about vaccines, it’s worth noting Campaign’s report that TikTok “has made the most progress toward media responsibility standards.”
- Here are two for the media-watchers: COVID-era all-stars Dr. Esther Choo and Neil A. Lewis share what they’ve learned from communicating science during the pandemic, and the Columbia Journalism Review weighs in on coverage pratfalls during the first months of the vaccine rollout. And in this podcast, WBUR asks a trio of experts how clearly we’ve communicated COVID-associated risk (spoiler: not very).
- Of course the Super Bowl streaker wasn’t wearing a mask. Can we add an endangerment charge to his rap?
- Campaign’s Alison Weissbrot recaps the Super Bowl ads, noting that the expected COVID-era change in tonality didn’t quite materialize.
- Only 19% of U.S. adults watched the Super Bowl with people from outside their bubbles. My heart breaks for the chips that went undipped, for the rivers of queso that met their end in the kitchen sink.
- Per Governor Andrew Cuomo, it won’t be long – on February 23, to be specific – before I’ll have the opportunity to attend a game or concert in one of the venues I’ve frequented for years. To this imminent development, I say both “wow, can’t wait” and “you first.” See you in the cheap seats come early September, maybe.
The takeaway: There’s only so much stuff you can do on your phone. Gimme community.
THREE QUESTIONS WITH… H4B Chelsea president Violet Aldaia
How would you assess communications and messaging around the vaccination effort so far?
They’re really just getting under way. There’s a lot at stake and a very big job to do. Communications that put the value of getting vaccinated in the context of positive impact on daily life can motivate people to get vaccinated. But it’s a delicate balance to mobilize the entire population, while also asking everyone to wait their turn. In the meantime, vaccine messages are tested every day in the face of news about new COVID variants and whether the vaccine will work against them, as well as misinformation questioning the vaccines. The danger is that ultimately people will tune out to avoid the confusion, and lose the urgency to get vaccinated.
What are the areas in which those efforts could stand to improve?
To achieve the vaccination levels needed to stem the pandemic, it’s going to be important to deliver consistent messaging over a long period of time. Targeted reach and frequency, aligned to the segments of the population eligible for vaccination at a given time, will help us get there. So will reinforcement from public figures in all aspects of everyday life – music, acting, sports, etc. I’m not sure showing the needle in someone’s arm getting the vaccine is necessary, because those images could inadvertently turn away people who are afraid of needles.
What are the first things you plan to do after you receive the COVID vaccine? And after the pandemic lifts?
Taking the vaccine will provide more peace of mind to do the social activities we miss so much and bring us joy – things like getting together with family for holidays, celebrating birthdays with a group party and spending time out with friends and colleagues. One of the things I miss most is traveling. It’s been a constant and cherished part of my life through work and personal interests. After nearly a year of exploring cities online with my kids, they’ve created a travel list in priority order for as soon as the pandemic lifts. First stop, Paris!
(Are you smart? Do you know someone who is? If so, please reach out to Larry.Dobrow@haymarketmedia.com with nominations for potential “Three Questions With…” respondents)
- Our cooler and smarter sibling, the Vaccine Project Newsletter, flagged it yesterday, but Hillel Hoffmann’s Medical Bag feature about how the fear of needles, trypanophobia, represents an especially acute public-health problem at this particular moment in time is worth reupping.
- The Covid One Year Ago Twitter account is a fascinating follow, often for the wrong reasons. The virus was officially dubbed COVID-19 one year ago today; time flies when you’re sitting at home doing nothing.
- Individuals who need to travel – or choose to do so because, I dunno, YOLO maybe? – often must present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a plane. So now, of course, there’s a burgeoning black market for fraudulent test certificates. Elsewhere, Delta’s CEO has characterized mandatory COVID testing for U.S. flights, floated as a possibility by the Biden administration, as “a horrible idea.”
- The U.K.’s National Health Service enlisted Sirs Elton John and Michael Caine for a vaccination video (a vaxvid?), per PRWeek.
- On one hand, this graphic framing the sinking of the Titanic in the language of COVID denialism is clever. On the other, a majority of COVID victims are older people and individuals who didn’t have the option of working at home and complaining about Netflix fatigue, not COVID-iots. Your mileage may vary, as they say.
- “It’s been a year. I could potty train a dog faster than this.”
…and some songs.
Here in the Northeast, darkness isn’t falling until 5:30 p.m. More light equals more hope. See you back here next week.