Accidental vacation, huzzah. The second one in so few months.

I simply had a lot to do. But now, I’m back (I think).

At least I was half active on my Instagram, where I mainly showed my cat, my 3d printed masks, and my orchids recently. Oh, and my roses. I like scented flowers, what can I say? Especially flowers that smell like candy and/or chocolate – though I don’t really like eating candy and chocolate. I’m complex, it is what it is. I’ll eventually post them to my Tumblr.

I think taking breaks are not that bad, especially when juggling a bunch of things. In the past, I would try to schedule posts so breaks weren’t that obvious but then there are times where you simply just go “Nope” and that’s it.

As of two weeks ago, I’ve gotten both vaccine shots against Covid-19. I am now considered “fully vaccinated”. Still wearing masks. Still socially distancing. Still cleaning things. Now, I have experienced (and seen, and heard from others) that getting the Coronavirus vaccine is immensely difficult – oh, and before we touch on that, let’s touch on bunk for a second.

I’ve also heard from others that people will sometimes go out and about and try to sell to people, usually in poorer neighborhoods that have obscene lack of access to vaccinations – due to terrible hospitals, deeply prejudiced/rude healthcare workers, simply no properly enforced vaccination system, and a long, horrific Western medical history of White medical practitioners using Black and Brown (well, anyone that wasn’t White, really) people as lab rats over and over again – these people will try to hock oils that will “get rid of the coronavirus”. I have zero idea what the oils are made of but I can tell you, it’s a load of bullsh*t. These folks tend to target those standing at bus stops and hock their wares. It has also floated to me that this is also a thing on the internet, including fluffy bunnies and dabblers, who are folks who basically like to play pretend when it comes to magick and occultism. (Having a Killstar bag or a cottage dress doesn’t make someone a witch. Hopefully fashionable but not a witch). This is remarkably dangerous for so, so many reasons.

Here’s the thing: while quite a few forms of science has witchcraft DNA (from potions to modern medicine, from alchemy to chemistry, for example), there is absolutely nothing, and I mean not a single thing that can be purchased from Instagram or Facebook that can vaccinate against Covid-19 or remove it from your body. No phony online witch doctor can cure you via DMs. Even in cultures that do have genuine witch doctors and shamans, they will say just about the same thing a person in a lab coat will (in certain places & cultures, they’re also the same people. And they’re still legit). Which is, “It’s the coronavirus. You need to get medicine and/or treatment for Covid. Or best, vaccinated.” If it is being sold (emphasis on the sold part), it is most likely dubious. If it is being sold on the internet, it is definitely dubious. If it is being sold on the internet via social media, it is a 100%, solid gold scam. Social media can provide a lot of things, dependable medicine is not one of them. Especially not ones gears towards a pandemic. If it is being sold on the internet via social media through an influencer – it is not only a super scam but, congrats, you officially seen someone who is willing to kill you for a couple bucks and with a super edited, but glitzy, smile. They should be behind bars and deplatformed quickly.

If you see anyone posting, selling or spreading such information (from oils to spells about Covid, they’re all phony), report them to the social media platform and even to local governments if possible because they are just trying to make money off of scared people, even harm or kill a few. Doesn’t matter if they are famous or fairly unknown, these folks do not need to harm people just to collect a few coins. They don’t care about the population and especially not their communities, just themselves. You’ll be pushing daisies and they’ll dump out a phony apology just to hock the next thing offered to them for a couple more bucks.

Back to the difficulties of getting a vaccine in the community. I have tried to get a vaccine in the community and, wow, is it difficult. There is the option of going to a mass vaccination center, like a football stadium. However, according to those I know who have gone, it can be long, lengthy and nerve wracking – and this is assuming they have appointments. One friend tried to show up a few minutes early for their appointment but wound up soaking two hours away because of how long the lines were. There are pharmacies, like Walgreens and CVS, but they are so inundated that calling on the phone is pointless (it will just direct you to their website, and their website will direct you to their phone, it is an ouroboros of bullsh*t) and should you get a human, they will be a very frazzled and snippy one.

There is also the difficulties of even getting an appointment itself. It should not be easier to buy concert tickets than it is to get an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine (by the way, in-person concerts should not be happening, they’re just super spreader events just waiting to happen). Just like concert ticket sites will hold your ticket for five minutes or so, it should be the same for an appointment setting. Granted, there can always be logistical problems with that – everyone chunking up the system because of all the five minutes (or so) timers are active on available appointments, good ol’ scalpers (that should be sort of easy to fix with checking ip addresses, names and such, to prevent one person scooping up a bunch of appointments and trying to sell them off) – but these are problems that can be handled. Hopefully. I mean, we’re almost a year and a half in of handling a virus that can be easily defeated with regular dish soap and a mask and look at how badly that is being handled, from the start to now. Totally predictable but definitely still disappointing.

My vaccination came because I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where they are making a mad dash to vaccinate as many employees as possible. Makes sense, given they are the place that has the core of the vaccine research, that they would have better and easier access to vaccines than the average health clinic in America. No greedy and/or incompetent middle men like what regular health clinics have to deal with, no round-arounds or snippy people, either. There was a line but it moved pretty fast. However, NIH is only vaccinating its employees not the entire country, so a way smaller number of people means a smoother run, I would imagine. Either way, if I didn’t get vaccinated at my job that is literally responsible for the creation of information about covid and the vaccines and treatments, I still would most likely be unvaccinated because of how hard it is to be vaccinated in the communities.

And speaking of government organizations interacting with pandemics – what the CDC said is quite sus. For those not in the know, the CDC said: “… [F]ully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance”. This sounds really simple on paper, and I would sort of agree, except for several caveats:

  • A lot of people are unvaccinated and it is quite easy to lie since there is zero obvious difference between a vaccinated and a non-vaccinated person at face value.
  • Related to above, there is even a black market for buying fake vaccination cards (just like there was and is a black market for buying fake negative covid results), which means a lot of people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others just to not wear a mask. Oh, and help Covid become new, stronger variants
  • There still isn’t full documentation on whether a vaxxed person can catch and spread Covid to others in asymptomatic fashion. That is still being worked on
  • A lot of places did away with their “laws, rules, and regulations”, they’re pretty open now so the unvaccinated and vaccinated don’t really have any pandemic mandates to go by. One place I know of in Virginia is holding a four day rock festival event that is supposed to have 180+ bands and they have indeed claimed to have no restrictions and aim to be filled to full capacity. Please cue Bad Religion’s “Infected”

At NIH, they’re still operating as if the CDC never changed the rules (meaning full masking and social distancing and all the other pandemic protocols are still in effect) because of a lot of the reasons I mentioned above – especially the “can’t tell if you are vaxxed/unvaxxed by looking at you” part. Also, at NIH, they always include the phrase “against current variants”, because it is the truth – the current vaccinations only protect you against the current variants, and to variable degrees per variant. The USA is *miles* from achieving any sort of herd immunity.

The part highlighted is the most important part: the fully vaccinated. There needs to be a population of at least 70% fully vaccinated to count as “herd immunity” against Covid. Herd Immunity is, as explained by Oxford dictionary, “resistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination.” As you can see on the graph above, we are at 38.6% Fully Vaccinated. And less than half of the nation has at least one shot of vaccinations. Some are indeed refusing their second dose because of how bad the effects the first one was for them, others are very “one and done” and thus do not want their second shot. Being half vaccinated in the nation that has the most Covid cases and deaths in the world and wanting to live, frolic and free, is not a great idea. Partial vaccinations can make it easy for the coronavirus to become vaccine resistant as it interacts more and more with half-vaxxed bodies. Plus the immunity wanes a little bit in the body since it is not at full capacity. This is why people who are considered half vaxxed are still told to wear a mask and adhere to pandemic protocols. Yes, it is not common for viruses to out-pace their vaccines but also Covid has proven to be rather uncommon. Also, there’s the people factor that still gets forgotten in super science pieces: the people who still catch and spread Covid are still real and their lives are still impacted. There still research underway about long haul Covid, which affects a lot of people who have caught Covid. Heck, for example, there is zero clue to as how a child that has caught Covid will do in school or in life due to long haul symptoms such as brain fog, weaker vital organs and upped chances for things like stroke before adulthood because of how Covid affects the brain. In other words, if you brought covid home to your kid, congrats, you may have done a superb neuter to their future and quality of life. At least they might not live long enough to really be that upset, perhaps. Wear a mask, social distance and get fully vaccinated. If you are an essential worker, please be careful for yourself and others. If you are not an essential worker (you don’t work in transport/delivery, food or public healthcare), stop being stupid and stay home. The important part is to try to wipe out Covid, not help it get stronger and mutate better.

Also, here is the graph again, not blocked by the info tidbit:

The US Population is about 330 Million, by the way

There is still the concern of vaccinations in historically marginalized communities. Already racism has shown it’s ugly head time and time again during the pandemic (and before the pandemic, and will again after the pandemic). It is zero surprise that when it comes to scarce supplies and unstable lines like how vaccine rollout has been, prejudice will very obviously show its head. From White people flocking to the historically marginalized communities to suck up available appointments to trying to route vaccines towards richer, historically privileged communities. Then there’s turning hospitals and health centers in the historically marginalized communities with atrocious community histories into vaccination centers. I have already heard of several, such as King hospital up in New York. John Hopkins is in its own class of “holy sh*t, what the f*ck”, stretching from inception to now. This alone can make people turn down the vaccine. If you terrify people from even wanting to walk through your doors or looking in your general direction, you’re probably not going to have a densely vaccinated population. Most people, when it comes to needles and bed-side manners, generally do not want to have Jigsaw from the Saw series come to mind. This is a systemic issue that is heavily danced around by, well, the system that keeps it in place. Even when it was brought up on Global Citizen’s VAX Live online concert event, the distrust, it was never really talked about, just painted as “Oh, those silly Black and Brown people. How dare they not believe in science! They have no reason to fear. Because everything that has ever happened in science was always ethical and above board. Always. What paranoid kooks. Don’tevertalkaboutwhathappened,we’resaviorsandyou’reliars.” People in historically marginalized communities definitely want to be vaccinated, we’re the ones who have been really seeing the decimation, but it is difficult to want a vaccine when there are systemic, physical and psychological barriers put in place. Needles are already scary by themselves, there sincerely is no need to try to make that experience even more terrifying, especially not to the point of driving someone to say, “Ehhhhh, I rather take my chances with Covid. Both these doctors and this virus are trying to kill me but at least the virus is honest about it.” This is something the medical community is extremely aware of and their current methods of handling such issues is, well, things like VAX Live. (I love the Foo Fighters with all my heart but the entire event is still a load of crock when you think about it. The Foo Fighters are amazing though). Yeah, the smart answer would be “to work and diligently root out all systemic issues via hiring better, firing system enablers (as well as the bystanders and inducers, etc), actively listening to the community (which must include ‘hearing the not-fun and the really not-fun parts – and without pulling the classic “speed them up to shut them up” method’), working diligently to improve systems and not in a way that is strictly self serving and out of pandering” but remember, that all requires work and a lot of introspection that will bear very few happy self-realizations. And I mean very few.

Very, very few.

These vaccinations are very important and the mad dash to get them shows the problems that were already here and spoken about at length by the affected. It is very important to get vaccinated, it is very important to get accurate information about the vaccine and the virus, it is extremely important to have trusted individuals in health – especially public health – fields to express this information and not be confusing about it nor allow for wide gaps to be abused out of blatant selfishness. There is still a lot of research and information that needs to be done about how Covid is going to affect all our lives, for the rest of our lives. I lived through a lot of things, such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the HIV/AIDS pandemic (which is still happening, by the way), 9/11 and more – this is definitely not going to be one of those “things we will eventually forget, maybe even the week after its over”. There are a lot of untold issues, sicknesses and definitely fatalities. At least a vaccine is a good first step but not if it is tagged with countless problems. Otherwise, we’re all going to be right back at square one.

At least this still gives me a proper chuckle: