Thursday, February 11, 2021

Getting a Covid vaccine shouldn't feel like winning the lottery, but it does

I'm not sure what's happening in your area but in ours, getting a vaccine appointment feels like winning the lottery. Max finally had his turn. He was seriously excited, especially because he knows that once he's fully vaccinated he can return to school. 

At the start of the pandemic, doctors told us that Max wasn't at high-risk for complications from Covid-19, mainly since he did hadn't had a previous illness that compromised his lungs. The main concern for him was the lack of in-person therapy. Still, I worried—there was so much unknown about the coronavirus. As more information emerged, it became alarmingly clear that Max was at high risk. People with cerebral palsy have difficulty with muscle movement, which meant that there could come a point where breathing—which involves muscles of the diaphragm and lungs—could become acutely difficult for him. (This article from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance has good information on the risk for people with CP.) It also emerged that blood clots were a side effect of Covid-19, and Max has a condition that puts him at more risk for them. 

News also came out that people with intellectual disability were three times more likely to die of complications from the coronavirus, although the key reasons—people with ID were more likely to have chronic health conditions, live in group homes, be employed in essential services, and rely on public transportation—did not apply to Max. 

There are so many tragedies in this pandemic: the 2.35 million deaths worldwide and counting; the ongoing complications people, aka those poor long haulers, are experiencing; the financial devastation happening among the most needy people in our country; the social isolation our children are experiencing, especially acute for children and teens with special needs who were already isolated to start with; the toll this has taken on parents; the impact on small businesses. It's tragic, too, that as the push was made to come up with vaccines, test them, approve them and produce them, systems weren't simultaneously being put in place to dole them out. Instead, it's like the Wild West out there, with so many people unclear on how to get vaccines or unable to get access to them.

Getting a lifesaving vaccine shouldn't feel like winning the lottery, but right now, it does. 

We registered Max on as many sites within our state as we could—some didn't specify that you had to be local—and got fortunate. Max had some arm numbness, nothing more. (In case you're wondering, they don't automatically ask guys to take off their shirts but Max insisted on wearing his beloved over-washed, too-tight Los Angeles sweatshirt and the nurse couldn't get to his upper arm so off it came.) Last week, my sister got lucky on a drugstore website at midnight and scored a vaccine for Mom.  

I am wishing you every one of you luck with vaccinating the high-risk and elderly members of your family, and hoping beyond hope that systems improve. 


  1. Hooray!!! So excited for Max and all of you. What a relief! :) -Kathy

  2. Hi, Happy for you.How old is Max now? I had been under the impression that vaccines weren't approved for kids yet. Alas... time is flying! We have a 13 yr old with genetic disorders including lots of heart stuff and pneumonias... curious if my information is wrong, and if so, what sorts of places did you reach out to? Thanks, and stay well.

  3. My mom goes for hers tomorrow. As my PCA she qualified as an essential healthcare worker, that is why she was called. It didn't matter that she is also 75 with cardiac issues and diabetes. Those lists got us nowhere.

    I have CP and a high BMI, but yes it has been VERY much like "The Hunger Games" trying to find a vaccine for myself. May the odds be ever in your favor!

  4. That is amazing. What a relief it must feel for your family and how exciting it must be for Max to be able to return to school one day soon. Congrats!

  5. I'm glad that Max has had his first injection. I assumed that the shirtless was a Max-ism. I have had my first (63, just completed cancer treatments), the second is on Feb 19! I'm in wait mode for all of my kids -- 22-year-old is steroid dependent due to adrenal gland and has diabetes, 20-year-old has diabetes and high blood pressure, 18-year-old has autism and is non-verbal. But it is coming.

  6. Very happy and relieved for you all!


Thanks for sharing!

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