Op-Ed: That’s one small jab for a woman. A huge step for humankind

Op-Ed: That’s one small jab for a woman. A huge step for humankind
Dado Ruvic/Reuters - Photo courtesy of CBC.
Ian Haysom pens this Voices piece about hope after a 90-year-old woman in Coventry, England became the first person to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

So, let the hope begin.

A 90-year-old woman from Coventry, England, rolled up her sleeve today and was injected with a vaccine that the world hopes will be the beginning of the end of this virus that has stolen so much from us this year.

She wore a Christmas sweater with a penguin on the front. An unlikely motif for this moment in history. And, yes, it’s a long way from Coventry to Campbell River to Cambodia and to all other points in the world praying for a vaccine, but here we are, at the end of the atrocious, disastrous 2020, and finally, there are signs of hope.

Yes, as everyone tells us, there’s still a long way to go. And a few billion people to take the vaccine, and yes we may lag behind in Canada, and we may be irked in British Columbia that our Christmas has been taken from us, but now we have something to hold onto.

The pessimists said we may never get a vaccine. Others that it would take years. But even the pessimists among the medical and scientific community believe we may now be able to take on this cursed virus enemy effectively in 2021 and by next summer we may be returning back to a kind of normal we are all yearning for.

The fact is, if any of the three vaccines begin working effectively, we will bring down the numbers of sickness and death among the elderly and most vulnerable by the spring. With more and more people immune the virus will find it difficult to be transmitted, and herd immunity will kick in. I enjoyed the words of the second vaccine recipient – William Shakespeare from Warwickshire, who said, “This above all. To thine own self be true.” Okay, he didn’t exactly say that, but said, “It could make a difference to our lives from now on.” The 81-year-old, who goes by Bill rather
than Will, like that other Shakespeare chap, put it simply and eloquently. We’d just like to get on with our lives, please. No poetry necessary.

Just about every medical and health official and politician has advised us to keep on keeping on. Keep our distance, keep those hands washed, keep wearing our masks and, yes, keep the faith. Many won’t. Many will defy the rules and claim quietly that it doesn’t really apply to them. They will mix together at Christmas, even if that could mean destroying Christmas for others in the future. Most, however, as we’ve witnessed on Vancouver Island will do the right thing.

They now have hope to cling to. It won’t be quick and it won’t be easy. But there’s real hope we will begin to get our lives back sometime in 2021.

One small jab for a woman. One giant step for humankind. I choose hope over despair. So should we all.

Ian HaysomIan Haysom

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