October 26th, 2021Moderna booster but not for ‘old and fat’
A SEPTEMBER 17 CNN online story was headlined: “Moderna’s vaccine is the most effective, but Pfizer and J&J also protect well, CDC-led study says”. That news suited me just fine – as previously reported in this fine publication, I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and took the second shot in February.
Meanwhile, in Redding, the northern California town where I live, on September 15 the local newspaper reported that “public health officials announced this week that the Covid-19 outbreak in Shasta County is the worst of any county in the state”.
In much of the United States, and aggressively so here in Shasta County, the solution to the Covid crisis is to pretend it’s over. Mask wearing here has always been optional. And, although during the northern winter months, while national and local Covid numbers soared, mask wearers were generally in the majority in indoor public places here, this summer our numbers have dwindled into a small minority, and the number of Covid cases increased day by day, amid anti-vax and anti-mask demonstrations.
For these reasons, and because I am a care-giver for my elderly parents, I have been closely following reports about Covid vaccine booster shots.
On September 29, the CNET website published a story with the headline, “FDA could authorise Moderna Covid booster vaccine at a half dose. What to know.” The story also came with this secondary line: “If you got the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19, you could be in line for a booster shot.” Notice in both lines the use of the auxiliary verb “could”, indicating doubt, uncertainty.
The story made reference to a September 28 Bloomberg story headlined “Food and Drug Administration leans toward authorising Moderna booster at a half dose”.
Again, note the tentative wording, “leans toward”, and also the part about only needing a half dose. I mention these grammatical points because on September 24 my wife and I received Moderna booster shots – full shots.
It came about because a friend wanted to have a booster, even though his first Moderna shots had been administered weeks after we’d had ours. He simply showed up at the pharmacy department of the local supermarket chain where he’d received his original shots, filled out a form, and got the jab.
It sounded so easy, we decided to follow suit. We don’t usually shop in this store, because it isn’t near our house and isn’t known for low prices or excellent fruit and veg – it isn’t one of those mega-marts where you can have the tyres on your car rotated while you shop for shoes and bananas, but it does have a pharmacy, which we found at the back of the store, just past the cleaning-products aisle, near the packaged meat department.
On the form we were given to fill out, the only question that mattered was the one about which medical condition we had that made us believe a booster was necessary. Because we didn’t meet any of the listed criteria, we wrote in the blank: “Old and fat”.
We gave our completed forms to one of the pharmacists and went to sit in the waiting room. A few minutes later the pharmacist came in and explained that our reason for wanting a booster wasn’t acceptable, but that if it was OK with us, he’d ignore it and proceed with the injections – full shots of Moderna vaccine. Bring it on, we said.
As a postscript, I feel obliged to say that the booster had some unpleasant after-effects – nothing serious, but we did feel tired, achy and listless, as if we’d caught a dose of influenza, for about three days. Other than that, it’s been fine.
After many happy years living in Victoria and working at The Age, former Wheatsheaf resident Jeff Glorfeld went back to California, the land of his birth, where in the past three years he has survived bushfires, snowstorms and drought. And Trump. The cicadas and locusts didn’t arrive. Well, not yet.