In Pursuit of a Vaccination

Edna Bonsu

The past year has been dreadful. From social distancing to remote learning, COVID-19 has pushed communities worldwide to lengths that once seemed inconceivable. In a year lives have changed completely, and all that was once associated with normalcy has been thrown out the window. Yet, on December 11, 2020, things seemed to be looking towards the bright side. The FDA “issued the first emergency use authorization for a vaccine” to combat the virus that had so painfully taken more than 77,000 lives in the United States alone by New Year’s Eve of 2020. This breakthrough, for many, was a sigh of relief and a glimpse of light for those stuck in such dense darkness. Soon, the vaccine distribution would begin around the country, and things would return to some semblance of what once was, right? 

This season of life has taught the lesson that things are often more complicated than they seem.  Though there was now a vaccine, its arrival prompted a new set of challenges as officials drafted systems that determined where and to whom the first doses would be administered. First came health care providers, first responders, and other essential workers. Next came the elderly and individuals above the age of sixty. Seemingly every day, there was coverage about people waiting in mile-long lines and doing everything in their power to get vaccinated. 

While some endured frustration and anxiety due to vaccine shortages, others crafted cunning strategies that would boost them up the ladder of eligibility. There is no more explicit example of this than Olga Monroy-Ramirez, and Martha Vivian Monroy, two women from Florida who “disguised themselves as grannies in a failed attempt to get a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine”. Dressed in bonnets, cardigans, and spectacles, the two women were confronted by law enforcement when vaccinators noticed that the women “looked funny”. The women had received their first doses successfully but were busted the second time around. 

This incident was the first of its kind to make headlines but may not be the last. Were these women desperate to escape the chaos of the past year or just plain selfish? Though humorous, will occurrences like this severely impact people in dire need of vaccinations? Will the irksome process of finding vaccination appointments grow riddled with stricter requirements and tighter regulations? At COVID’s inception, who could have ever imagined that the pandemic would morph into women in guises seeking to be vaccinated? The pandemic in itself has been a series of twists, turns, and unpredictability, but hopefully, this was the beginning of the end and the last of the COVID grannies.