A booster shot for the greater good

Booster shot
Waiting to receive COVID-19 ‘booster shot’ this week at Mercy OKC.

When I was a kid, it seemed my mom took me to the doctor every six months or so to get a “booster shot” of some vaccine or another. We never questioned the validity or effectiveness of the vaccines in the early 1960s that I can remember.

Earlier this week, I received the COVID-19 “booster shot” at Mercy Hospital in keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control that people my age (65-plus) get a third dose when six months have elapsed from their original shots.

I was fully vaccinated with both doses of the Pfizer vaccine back in January.

My friend Steve asked me recently if I hesitated or had any second thoughts before taking the vaccine. I told him “absolutely not,’ and here’s why:

Although I have no scientific training in my background, I’ve had the opportunity over the past 20 years as a newspaper reporter and writer to visit with dozens of scientific researchers and their labs at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

I’ve learned about the incredible documentation that scientific findings are required to have and how experiments must be repeatable with the same results to be declared valid. Therapeutics designed for humans go through multiple stages of trials for safety and efficacy.

In short, I’ve learned to trust the science.  It is developed in highly controlled processes by people with high intelligence and credibility. These folks have undergone the most rigorous education and training before they tackle their own scientific exploration.

Mercy sign
‘Walk Ins Welcome’

So, I had no second thoughts about walking in to the Mercy vaccination clinic this week and getting the booster. In fact, their sign now reads “walk-ins welcome,” as opposed to January when it was a madhouse of thousands of people turning up to get vaccinated.

I know, I was there.

This time, I was in and out in about 20 minutes, including the 15-minute wait period after I received the dose. I woke up on the day after the booster with a sore arm, but that’s been about the only real impact.

Why did I get the booster so readily? For one, I hope to protect myself from infection of a virus that keeps mutating and making the rounds. But I did it also to be a good citizen who’s helping to put an end to this plague.

I call it doing something for the greater good.

But the decision to get the vaccine or the booster shot isn’t so easy for significant minority of my fellow Oklahomans. They read conspiracy theories about the vaccine or that it was “rushed” or that we don’t know what’s in it.

Can anyone tell me everything that’s in the flu vaccine?

You can read my thoughts on the reasons behind the COVID-19 vaccine resistance in an earlier blog post from a couple of months ago. I stand behind what I wrote.

Times have changed since my mom took me to get my booster shots as a kid in the ’60s. Trust the science.

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jimstafford

I'm an Oklahoma City-based freelance writer with interests in Oklahoma startup community, Apple Inc, OKC Thunder & Texas Rangers.

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