I’ve had my first jab. I’m relieved and happy but still fearful

Unknown unknowns await as vaccinations move us towards exiting the pandemic

Paddy Murray: “ I keep hearing of people who I think deserve their vaccination way ahead of me.”

Paddy Murray: “ I keep hearing of people who I think deserve their vaccination way ahead of me.”

 

No, I didn’t do a lap of honour. I didn’t celebrate with champagne.

In fact, I pretty much kept it to myself, telling only family and close friends.

I’ve had my first jab. I’m lucky to have a GP who, aware of my medical history, made sure I got my Pfizer vaccination when, one day as he was continuing to prioritise the over-70s as instructed, he had one dose left over.

My history and proximity made me the ideal candidate.

I mention it here only because I’ve been writing about my health during the pandemic. It would be wrong not to, though it goes against the grain.

And so I’m on my way to immunity – or as close to it as it’s possible to get at the moment.

Of course I’m relieved and happy.

But the truth is that, although I think we’re doing an okay job in this country, I keep hearing of people who I think deserve their vaccination way ahead of me.

I’m thinking of the very elderly who aren’t in care homes and who, despite very advanced years, have not yet been treated.

I think of some younger people, even transplant recipients who, similarly, seem to be behind me in the queue.

But I think there is something that the critics of the HSE and Nphet and NIAC, etc, don’t seem to be taking on board.

This is a mystery. Covid 19 is a mystery, almost as much of a mystery as it was a year and a half ago when we first heard of it.

Back then, I was wondering why we were hearing so much about a virus which had, at the time, only affected people in a Chinese city most of us had never heard of before.

Even when it arrived in Italy, I wondered why there was so much coverage.

Now, in retrospect, it seems to me that the only thing the experts and, indeed, governments knew about Covid-19 was, that they knew nothing.

I could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as a fan of Donald Rumsfeld who played a central role in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Unknown unknowns

But what he said in 2002 does, I think, perfectly describe why the world has been so devastated by Covid-19: “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Not only is Covid a brand new virus, completely unknown until two years ago, we have now learned that it mutates, it changes into variants which are occasionally more transmissible and, maybe, more resistant to some vaccines.

Our health bosses have been let down by AstraZeneca over and over again over vaccine supplies. There are almost eight billion people on Earth and if they are all to be vaccinated, it may take twice that number to get the job done.

So while other aspects of my health slowly deteriorate, as expected, I hope to at least be safer, if not safe, from Covid-19 in the coming months.

What I, and others like me, need now is a jab that will give us the confidence to step out – with precautions of course – and rejoin society in a some way or another.

I’d love a pint in Toners. I’d love to sit in the RDS and watch Leinster. I’d love to go to Mass. I’d love to go to a gig.

But I’m a coward. I’m going to let others do that first and see how they get on.

Still, I have my tickets for rescheduled gigs.

I see that next on my list is the Stunning in the Olympia in October.

And I may do that lap of honour on my way home if I drum up the courage to go. . .

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