High Points: Efficacy and efficiency: J&J comes to the Music Tent | AspenTimes.com

High Points: Efficacy and efficiency: J&J comes to the Music Tent

Paul E. Anna
High Points

Emma. That is the name of my angel. I’m not sure what she looks like, as I saw her for less than 90 seconds and her face was hidden behind a mask. But when she handed me a lollipop and an “#IGotTheShot!” sticker and said, “You’re all done,” I could not have felt more blessed.

This past Sunday, under blue skies with temperatures in the 40s, a perfect spring morning, I got the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. Amazingly, it took less than a year, by just a few days, to go from lockdown to vaccination. In March of last year they were saying that it could take 18 months just to get a vaccine ready for testing. That we would be fortunate to have something by the end of 2021.

Now, a year later, there are three vaccines, from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, that are available and being distributed. It is an incredible testament to the skills of the scientists who spent endless days and nights concocting the drugs, the companies that ramped up testing and production and, yes, the government for fast-tracking these programs.

And major kudos must go out to Pitkin County Health and all of those involved in putting together the nearly flawless system for administering the vaccinations this past weekend. From the initial alert urging us to sign up online, to the email and text confirmation and scheduling system, to the organized simplicity of getting the actual shot, this was a well-orchestrated affair at the music tent. A thousand bravos.

It was without question the most efficient medical procedure I have ever been a part of.

My wife and I signed up for 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. appointments for the J&J shots within minutes after they were offered via email. Over the next few days we were sent reminder emails each day at the exact times of our appointments. We weren’t sure if there would be a line of cars or if the fact that we had different times for our shots would mean we would have to wait. The questions created a touch of stress but we went with the flow.

Once we arrived at the parking lot our concerns were nullified. A direct line of volunteers pointed us in the right direction and said we could get our shots together. We pulled up under tent Number 7, where Emma met us. After asking a few questions she rolled up my sleeve, swabbed my arm, and gave me the shot. It all took seconds and I frankly felt less than a pin prick. Problem solved. And there would be no second shot necessary. I was told that in 28 days my chances of being infected would be less than 10%.

While guarded, there was a sense of relief that my wife and I felt. Over the next couple of days we both had sore arms, but for the most part that was a sole negative symptom. We both agreed that for the time being, nothing really changed as we waited for the effects of the vaccine to kick in. We still wear masks. We still distance. We are not congregating indoors with anyone.

And we both feel incredibly blessed to live in a community that so efficiently administered this vaccine. There is light at the end of our collective tunnel.

Thanks, Emma. You’re an angel.


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