Dear Vaccine, Can You Change the World?

When I wrote If You’re Still Hesitating, Here are 10 Reasons to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine, a number of readers asked if I would be sharing that article here as well. Others shared it on Facebook, and some even emailed to let me know that they were sending it to friends. Clearly there was a lot of interest in the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine hesitancy, and the concerns continue.

I don’t plan on repeating myself here, so if you’re interested in my ten reasons for getting vaccinated, please head over to When You Work for the Church: If You’re Still Hesitating, Here are 10 Reasons to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine. Since then, I’ve learned that Manitoba has introduced a vaccine passport that allows those who have been fully vaccinated to travel across Canada without having to self-isolate when they return home and allows for visits to family and friends in personal care homes and health facilities. As well, proof of vaccination will most likely be part of international travel once that resumes. So for those who are able, there seems to be even more reason to get vaccinated.

Vaccine, Take Two

I was thinking about all of that when I went to get my second vaccine this last week. I wasn’t at all looking forward to it—partly because the clinic had been so disorganized the first time we were there, and partly because I was concerned about side effects that I had heard could be worse with the second dose. I wasn’t so concerned for myself, but more for my husband  since I’d already had to take him to emergency a few times with complications from his cancer and chemotherapy, and we weren’t at all interested in another emergency visit.

I’m grateful to God that wasn’t necessary. As with our first vaccines, our side effects have been minimal. We both had sore arms for a couple of days, and I still have a lingering bruise, but that’s been about all. And the clinic was so well organized this time, with a staff person ready with the hand sanitizer, each chair now with its own plexiglass shield, and we each received a sticky note with the time we could leave. From start to finish, it took us only half an hour for our second vaccines. For our first vaccines, in half an hour we were still waiting outside the clinic in the rain.

Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus from Pixabay

Dear Vaccine

Two years ago, before COVID-19 restricted air travel, I had a wonderful time in Lubbock, Texas at the Christian Scholars Conference where I was introduced to the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye, who is the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate. Since the pandemic, she’s started “Dear Vaccine,” which is “a global community poem inviting all to share their voices to promote COVID-19 vaccination through the imaginative language of poetry.”

She writes in the second verse:

We liked our lives.
Maybe we didn’t thank them enough.
Being able to cross streets
with people we didn’t know,
pressing elevator buttons,
smiling at strangers,
standing in line to pay.
We liked standing in line
more than we pretended.

For the rest of the poem and to respond with your own thoughts, see the global vaccine poem. Here are my few lines:

Dear Vaccine,

Two years ago
I didn’t know I needed you.

I flew to Texas,
ate with strangers,
shook their hands,
sat side by side,
no thought then
of masks or
measuring distance.

Now I keep my distance
at the grocery store,
I mask to pick up mail,
no indoor meetings,
no shaking hands,
no flying to Texas,
or to anywhere.

Can you really change all that
for me and for the world?

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What would you add to the global vaccine poem?


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2 thoughts on “Dear Vaccine, Can You Change the World?

  1. How I wish that all of the Christian world would read your ten reasons why COVID-19 vaccinations are so important to follow; actually I wish these 10 reasons were translated in to EVERY language in the world and shared world-wide.
    A BIG thank you.

    1. You’re so welcome, Sue. Sharing vaccine stories, outlining the benefits of vaccination, and expressing ourselves in poetry can all help to address vaccine hesitancy. I also read recently that as more people get vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy may decline because people who may be hesitant or fearful can see that the vaccines are effective and safe among people that they know personally. So just getting vaccinated may be an encouragement to someone else.

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