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.

16 thoughts on “I’m a member of the herd

  1. Love the brain pickings quote. I kinda want to shout it to those people who, for whatever reason, will not vaccinate. I’m used to get angry about masks. Now there is a solution and some are still afraid to take it. Thanks for your bravery for the herd!

  2. Congratulations! I don’t think everyone fully understands that taking the vaccine contributes to the common benefit not just their own. I am thankful to you. I still have several weeks to wait before the second dose.

  3. I love Brian Pickings and Maria Popova. Have you read her A Velocity of Being? I give it as a gift often. Congratulations! I can’t wait for mine, given at the local fairgrounds by a nursing staff comprised primarily of people who have come out of retirement to inoculate “the herd.”

  4. Congrats! My second does in Friday morning – nervous but can’t wait. So ready to have this done and to be a part of those who are joining the herd. My daughter has had both for a while now since she is teaching. I will be glad when all the family can get the shot! Glad you did not feel bad. Thanks for the quote I miss reading that on of Maria’s.

  5. Thanks for painting a clear picture of your experience. It was nice how you took it from the individual to the collective with quote from Maria Popova.

  6. I belong to the group of nonbelongers. We think for ourselves. We ask the questions and never agree to any kind of peer pressure, no matter how large. In this way, others can trust what we say, knowing we might be wrong at times, but as a population, we are a much better people when we don’t allow anything to supersede common sense and understanding.

    • The idea of a herd feels contrary to my sensibilities as well. But, as you say, as a population, we must ferret through the facts and determine what is true for the sake of all.

      • This is true, but with the same respects, the right of people to make decisions for themselves, individually and for their families, is the heart of a truly free country. Certainly, if we had a plague killing off half the country, we wouldn’t be having blogs and everyone would be on board. But something that has no greater risk than any other flu and many diseases, we can certainly see a political controlling factor. That so many politicians and 95% of the media got into this tells a very different tale.

  7. That word “collective” tells so much. For myself, I will always be an individual. America and the freedom provided by the founding fathers and Americans was because of individuals.

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