3 millioner amerikanere vaccineres om dagen takket være frivillige hjælpere. Stemningen er præget af optimisme og en “vi ændrer det her – sammen”-indstilling.
Yesterday, I got the golden drops. Thanks to America´s many volunteers, the future looks brighter
3 million Americans are vaccinated a day thanks to volunteer helpers. The mood is characterized by optimism and an “we change this – together” attitude.
“There are excess vaccines that need to be used today before they expire. They receive everyone who comes, ”wrote my friend and sent a link where you could choose what time of day you wanted your Moderna vaccine. I was crazy and hurried to book an appointment for me and my husband.
Here, the vaccinations run according to a ” fee system “, where you must be in a certain age group and with certain health conditions to be in the group that is entitled to a vaccination. If you get through the questionnaire without any problems, you can book an appointment. One’s information is not checked when one shows up to get his vaccine.
When we parked the car and put on two masks, such as dr. Fauci recommends, we could already feel the atmosphere at the queue outside the huge building. The expectation trembled from people seeking eye contact, an opportunity to begin a conversation. The smiles can usually be difficult to read due to the masks, but here they were clear to read in people’s tense eyes.
Before we even entered the building, three different volunteers in orange vests had received us and made sure that we were divided into those who had pre-filled the paperwork and those who had not. Then we were led through a long queue , as you know it from the airport or in amusement parks. People almost ran through so that as many as possible could get through as quickly as possible. And maybe also to get the much coveted plug in the upper arm.
I got a lump in my throat. In front of me sat row after row of people in the orange vests behind tables, ready to help the next link through the vaccination process. Work was done on the loose, an entire machinery ran like clockwork. When I had gone up and down the serpentine corridor and reached the end, from where we were to be distributed to tables, a woman asked , “Are you excited?” With trembling voice I got the answer that I was so touched and relieved and thanked her for what she did.
I was guided to a table where both me and my husband were asked to take a seat. The woman with the South American ancestry took our names and contact information and asked a few questions before we were sent on to a new table. Here sat a big-smiling African-American woman asking several questions while commenting on the sticker I have on my phone that my BTS-loving daughter has given me as a love gift. A white man in black uniform walked with a twinkle in his eye back and forth between me and my husband, wiping our upper arms clean in a nonchelant , almost lazy motion. I got the impression that he had stuck in thousands of arms, this was just another person on the assembly line.
I looked at his purple silicone gloved hand as he led it to my upper arm and in a matter of seconds pressed the contents of the syringe into my arm. In a snap, he put a patch on my arm, deposited the syringe in a plastic container and turned away, ready to receive the next upper arm. “Thank you, you may have just saved my life,” I said piping.
He smiled and said: “Bon appetit,” before a one Asian appearance voluntary quickly led us down to the area where you have to wait at least 15 minutes to see if you have a reaction to the vaccination. One-two-three, then the chairs were ready for the next two upper arms, two chairs at a table out of one long row of similar seats with other syringes ready to do wonders in the arms of the world.
On the way to the waiting area, my phone hummed and a link to get the next and last covid vaccination popped up. In 28 days, the next vaccination awaits, and shortly thereafter a world radius that will hopefully mean a return to a life of greater freedom of movement, physically and socially.
When we had been escorted to the chairs, I fell on my husband’s neck; the rapid but intense course felt like the culmination of a very long and challenging year. We all know the feeling by now. Throughout the process, I have tried to keep up, not let myself be knocked out, take one news after another in a stiff arm, make the family work. Now give me go, let the tears fall .
Another woman, this time a black woman with graying hair, came over and asked if we had any questions and last but not least, another woman came over with information material and we were again asked if we had any questions or comments. I asked them how it felt to be a part of something so great, to have a part in helping the whole nation? They just smiled, almost swept it off and said they were happy to be able to help.
While I was in the great hall, all impressions were half-dark, and it dawned on me that in my frenzy throughout the course I had forgotten to take off my sunglasses. Still, it was crystal clear to me that the United States could not be where they are without the army of volunteers I saw a small selection of yesterday.
If there is one thing the United States can do, it is to participate and engage in volunteer work. I see it on a micro level when I meet other parents who volunteer at the kids’ schools, I see it when it’s Thanksgiving , and we hand out meals to families in need, I see it at the organizational level, and I see, when individuals, such as is the case on test and vaccination sites, donate their time voluntarily. Because they think it’s the right thing to do. Because it is in their DNA that if you can, you must help where needed.
But of course also because they are not bottled up with the state helping to the extent necessary. The American dream and the freedom of the individual have a price; the Americans, if anyone, have experienced this in the last year.
Together we can get through this pandemic. We are many who share the same values, dreams and frustrations. That the desire for a common good has nothing to do with race or age, but about one’s values, integrity and heart. And that it is only when many stand together and make an effort, no matter how small, that we can change the situation for the better – not only for ourselves but for society as a whole.
“Have a nice day,” says the girl with the long dark henna-colored hair, while she stands and flirts with the young black man with bandana and rasta hair all the way down to the loins, and we hand in hand leave the building with sore shoulders but grateful hearts.