David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 1st Week Of February 2021
David Danto’s ongoing list of disjointed and occasionally random observations and thoughts as we wait-out the pandemic – mostly NOT traveling like we used to.
Following-up on my Not Traveling blog from last week, I did receive my first dose of the Moderna COVID19 vaccine. The photo to the left shows me getting the shot while proudly wearing my “Science doesn’t care what you believe” T-Shirt. (Not lost on me is the irony that the somewhat larger-than-normal list of health challenges that the awful 2020 threw at me moved me closer to the front of the line for this opportunity.) I wanted to take a bit of time to let everyone know about the experience.
Signing-up for an appointment is harder than it should be here in my home state of New Jersey, but honestly not any worse than any other high demand event coordinated on-line – like concert tickets or fare sales. Yes, there is clearly a bias against those who are not computer savvy or who don’t have broadband internet connections (and those issues are only now beginning to be addressed by a state phone-bank) but – at least in my home Essex County – it’s not as bad or as hard as many have made it out to be. Even as I type this there are a few hundred appointments being made available every day for about a month out.
The facility I was able to make an appointment with was set-up in a local college’s gym / sports complex. There was free parking available, plenty of signage, and a huge group of dedicated professionals organized to manage a rapid and heavy flow of patients. In fact, if anything, the site seemed underutilized. I’m pretty sure that that’s due to the limited availability of vaccines, so once these become more available I don’t think my area will have difficulties getting the vaccines into people arms at a rapid pace.
When I walked in, my approximately 11am appointment was confirmed, I answered a series of screening questions (no, I’m not pregnant; no, I don’t currently have COVID; no, I haven’t had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past; etc.) and I was eventually sent to a private ‘booth’ where two nurses gave me the injection. I was then asked to wait about 15 minutes to be sure there was no immediate adverse reaction, and then I was sent home.
My only side-effect at first was a slight feeling of being ‘flushed’ or warm. It passed quickly. In fact, I didn’t realize anything else had happened until about 6pm that evening when I was telling my wife I didn’t feel anything different, and raised my left arm to show her that – and felt the ache at the injection site for the first time. Yes, my arm was quite sore – which only came-on well after the fact. For the following two days I was unusually fatigued, and felt some mild muscle and joint pain all over my body – as if I’d played a game of football with friends and overdid-it. The fatigue was the last symptom to pass, and now, a week later, I no longer have any side-effects. My required second dose is scheduled for mid-February, and I’m told to expect side-effects that are a bit worse next time.
My wife (who is a front-line health professional and had her first shot weeks ago) is scheduled to get her second shot next week. (She got the Pfizer version, so we’ll have experienced both available types.) In chatting with her about the pandemic post our first shot it became obvious that the human-nature of over-optimism came to the surface. ‘Now that we’re invincible what should we do / where should we go? Let’s book a Hawaii trip….let’s eat out…let’s have a party amongst other vaccinated people…etc.’ We’ve been cooped-up for so long and are so desperate for a return to ‘normal’ that our fantasies just took-off. Of course we’re not doing any of those things. We still have to wait for our adult children and our friends and neighbors and fellow global citizens to be vaccinated, and for public facilities and travel firms to harden their safety and security policies and practices. As I mentioned last week, I can envision all airlines requiring an instant, negative COVID test before boarding an aircraft – that’s just inevitable in my mind. The vaccine thankfully produces a strong ability to prevent symptoms, but the early science does not indicate it prevents people from being carriers of the virus, so we’ll need a whole lot of other people to be vaccinated before the old normal is safe again.
Of course, companies and service providers are already gearing-up for that next-normal future. There have been plenty of announcements about creating a “digital vaccine card” that acts like a free-pass to let people travel more freely. In addition, we’ve also seen tourist destinations get creative around supporting new regulations, with some offering free-testing for travelers so they can prove they are able to fly home, and others offering free ‘quarantine stays’ if that test come back positive.
So, finally this week, I sadly must admit that I can’t get the movie I Am Legend out of my head. This is the one where a universal cure for disease goes wrong and turns almost everyone into zombies. Yes, I have a fear of negative consequences down the road from a new vaccine, but I’m smart enough to know that those are just fears and I have to overcome them. Once vaccine is available in large quantities people afraid of vaccines are going to be the biggest problem for the world getting back to normal quickly. However, to balance the fears, and as a student of science, I’m also happy that we’re using the first ever mRNA vaccine, and fully expect it to be used further in the future to prevent other diseases. In fact, I’ll likely join the push to demand it.
As I said last week, almost there……..
As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.) Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive. We’re going to be in this for a while longer.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
The Explanation for my Not Traveling blogs: In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA. Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.) Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs. I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis. I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips. Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time. In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help. My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog. I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.