I’m a member of the herd

I got there two minutes after they opened. The line was long. No doubt all had figured out that the appointment time didn’t matter. It was the date.

A large electronic sign messaged “2ND VACCINE ONLY!” We all were here three weeks ago getting our first shot.

Our lives have become so interconnected over the last year in ways no one imagined. It continues to stun me how much we have in common.

I park and then walk past the table with volunteer interpreters. The signs read Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, American Sign Language, Vietnamese, Korean. I live in a city with so many, from so many places. And all of us were here. Ready to participate in climbing out of our last year shared in lockdown and fear.

I stand in the first line. Checked in. Vaccine card updated for the second dose.

I stand in the next line and wait to be inoculated.

The army medic sits me down. We chat a bit. She’s from Colorado. Been in Los Angeles for a month. Enjoying the weather. Done.

I walk up ready for the next set of instructions. The woman at this station points to one work on her legal notepad. “Congratulations!”

I feel a strange mix of gratitude and pride.


The next morning, I wake slightly achy, nothing coffee and Tylenol can’t remedy, and open up my Sunday email where I find the always brilliant Brain Pickings from Maria Popova. In it, she discusses Eula Biss’s book On Immunity The quote Popova shares made understand my emotions the day before.

If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.

I am grateful and proud to become a member of the growing herd.

day 22 Slice of Life Challenge, 2021.
Read more slices here.