Vaccinated and Proud Buttons! Vaccination Badges.
We find ourselves in the dark days of the covid-19 pandemic and the hope for the world is the vaccine. During the pandemic we have been making lots of photo buttons for health workers as it is felt showing a friendly face on a button is better than looking at a mask. Now as the Covid-19 vaccine rolls out health networks and hospitals are rushing to us for VACCINATED buttons. Vaccinated and proud of it seems to be the message and what easier, more cost effective way is there than giving out a simple pinback button. Our button production is ramping up!
To say we live in strange or remarkable times can only be an understatement. This is a moment in time that changes everything. This virus exceeds many moments in history well beyond the Spanish Flu. Imagine you were an English peasant in Southern England as the Romans invaded. Everything changed, gods changed, currency changed, and whatever your status in society as a Briton changed, declined, or you left your land and ran for the hills (Wales, Scotland, Ireland). Either way your life changed drastically. But it wasn’t actually the invasion but the end of the Roman Empire that caused possibly the biggest calamity in European history up to that moment. Imagine a world where suddenly, with the collapse of the empire, the common currency was no longer recognized which made trade beyond one’s immediate environs nearly impossible. As a result, Europe entered the Dark Ages that lasted 300 years. Maybe a 2-year pandemic lockdown is not the end of the world!
Another moment would have been the European invasion of the New World. Europeans arrived ready to occupy and colonize the Americas with armies and the sword but killed 90% of the population with flu, smallpox and many of the childhood diseases, like measles, inherent in the European population that were deadly to the native Americans. Those Europeans were themselves the survivors of the greatest plague of all, the Black Death, this bubonic plague was spread by fleas on rats and decimated as many as 25-60% of the European population and then went on to spread in a new wave through the Middle East and eventually hit Asia and China hard too.
And here we are on the cusp of what is possibly the biggest moment in history since the bubonic plague. It looks dire but there is a huge difference. We already have a vaccine in the first year of the epidemic. The difference as well is we have news and information systems that they did not have in the 1300s. We have the ability to implement and enforce lockdowns, travel bans and quarantines and by fall 2021, if all goes well, we could have achieved herd immunity (in the First World). We’ll get there not by letting the virus rip through the population, but we are lucky enough, compared to the 1300s, to have the possibility of inoculating the majority of the world. Of course, it will be the First World inoculated by the end of 2021 and then if our leaders keep it going, the rest of the world by end of 2022, I hope. I know this is an optimistic scenario that will take money and good leadership and the understanding that as long as pockets of COVID-19 remain, the virus will continue to evolve and mutate. The world cannot afford to leave reservoirs of the virus in distant lands and less travelled corners of the globe as a mutation can so easily be brought back home in our interconnected world.
So luckily for us we live in a time where herd immunity will not be achieved by sacrificing the unfortunate but by inoculating the willing. But there are many doubters. I think it is human nature to think, “I don’t want to go first.” The few and the brave volunteer to be the guinea pigs, to protect the herd, and the anti-vaxxers see themselves as brave, lone wolves. But in the grand scheme of things, we have so much more to lose if we do not beat this virus. If we refuse the vaccination, we run the risk of the virus ripping through the sick, the old and the unlucky. Of course, the strong, the young and the wealthy will be able to mitigate their particular situations. But as long as, and the longer that, pools of the COVID-19 virus remain on our planet, the risk is the next jump, the next mutation that could be the one that leaves body bags on the streets. It could mean the collapse of currency again, the end of security again and that’s just in the early days. I do not want to contemplate where this could lead. But in that scenario, the strong, the young and the wealthy will mitigate no more.
I take little medicine and avoid all pharma products if I can. If I drink too much, I do not take the tablet and suffer the headache probably because I do not trust the pharmaceutical companies. Maybe I think big pharma is big enough and I know that Pfizer, Moderna et al., will take back world domination from some of those tech giants that pushed Big Pharma off the pedestal in the last 20 years. I know this and yet I am still going to get the vaccine when my turn comes. I am not strong, young or wealthy and do not believe that I am impervious to the disease. I am also not sick, old and certainly not unlucky. I live in a country with my government printing money to pay to support the population and keep businesses going until we get through this. I consider myself lucky! I suppose what I am is some kind of pack animal, not a lone wolf. Maybe I am in a herd, maybe my survival instincts have kicked in, perhaps herd immunity through the vaccine is my only choice and the only choice for all of us.