Tag Archives: who gets the COVID-19 vaccine first

It shouldn’t be this hard but sometimes it absolutely fucking is.

So I made a real pest of myself. On Facebook and Twitter both. I also contacted all the members of my medical team. Multiple times. Same for Pfizer, who is co-sponsor of my current trial (and sole sponsor of two previous trials).

It was my contention, and it still is, that both the institution where I get my care (MGH) and the sponsor of my trial should have my back. Solidly. First, from a strictly humanitarian ‘we’ve grown awfully fond of you Linnea’ perspective. But secondly, I represent a significant investment.

In time, tissue, data, money. Currently enrolled in my sixth (SIXTH) phase I (FIRST IN HUMAN) trial, I’m like the fast horse that just can’t stop running.

It makes an awful lot of sense to try to keep me in the race.

Sigh. Like the royals, as an advocate, me is no longer singular. It is we. You, me, each of us. In one way or another, we are all a valuable commodity.

And, as I pointed out to my contact at Pfizer, you are the maker of one of the primary vaccines. There are no contraindications to my getting said shot. But if I get the virus? We’re both fucked.

Sometimes when you’re in need of love, it just doesn’t matter how you get it or who you get it from.

Friend of one of my closest friends. My friend heard there was a clinic for 75 and over where no-shows were a distinct possibility. She got my name on a will call list. The night of the clinic (in a town not too distant from mine) I got there an hour before closing. Fifteen minutes after the shop closed up I was still there. The parking lot attendant came over and knocked on my window. ‘I know’, I said. ‘It’s not happening. I’m getting ready to go.’ But no, wait, she said. Asked my name. Called up to the gymnasium of the school where the vaccinations were taking place. Confirmed I was on the list. Then she turned and said she would need to knock on some more windows–to make sure those with appointments hadn’t missed them. I waited ten more minutes. The attendant came back and told me to pull forward and to wait a little while longer. Five minutes later she was back at my window. When I rolled it down she said ‘It’s your lucky day.’

I could have kissed her. But of course, not really. Not anymore. Not yet.

I drove to another parking lot and walked inside the school. I was giddy. And then horrified to discover I didn’t have my MASSHealth card with me. I filled out the paper work anyway and when I was called forward, figured this was it. I’d screwed up. But no, it was fine. In the gymnasium I went. When I told the nurse who would be giving me my shot that I had advanced lung cancer she said it was an honor–being the one to vaccinate me. I got choked up.

As it would turn out, I would be one of the last people to leave the gymnasium. I passed a fireman on the way out and said ‘Hey, we’re closing the joint down.’

Last night I had so much adrenalin and was so frigging grateful that I barely slept. Odd, as it was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt safe.

It really shouldn’t be this difficult. Those of us with lung cancer are a seeming priority, when it comes to vulnerability to and devastation from a disease like COVID. However, I guess we didn’t make the cut when it came to likelihood of transmission. Obviously they don’t know me well 😉 (Super connector! Super spreader!).

So yes. I got lucky. And I wish I could wave my magic wand and get each and everyone of you a vaccine today. In the meantime, my advice is this. Continue to lobby the powers that be. Employ reason and guilt. Try to get on some waitlists and if you do, show up early and stay late. And, if for any reason you (healthy or not) luck into an opportunity don’t hesitate. Get that vaccine. This isn’t the moment for gallantry. We ALL need to get vaccinated, sooner or later. If you’re given that shot at a shot and you don’t take it, you’re potentially part of the problem.

Don’t be. A problem. Get your fucking shot the minute you are able.

A year from now? Massive group hug.

My place.

xo

Vaccinate the most vulnerable

So this is everything I’ve got, pertaining to information as to when I, and others of my ilk, shall be eligible for a COVID vaccine. And–forewarning–it’s not a hell of a lot as all of the information I have been able to attain thus far–from my peers, medical professionals, and CDC as well as official Massachusetts Government Sites, has only served to confuse me more.

First. I think at this point we all know what COVID-19 is; most of us understand that getting the vaccine is a GOOD thing, but what is not clear, is when, how and why any of us might be eligible. As the new MA Phase 2 requirements make reference to comorbidity’s, let’s start with defining what the fuck a comorbidity is:

This is not cancer that they are talking about, but rather afflictions that one may suffer from in addition to cancer.

So what does this make cancer? I have, ahem, heard it referred to as The Emperor of all Maladies. We know it’s pretty bloody serious or people wouldn’t A. use it as part of the story-line in weepy movie after weepy movie or B. be so damn afraid of it.

And lung cancer? Not only is it incredibly deadly all on its own (dismally low survival stats at all stages), it is a disease of the lungs, just like COVID-19. Therefore, it only follows, that those of us with lung cancer are amongst the most vulnerable in this particular pandemic.

But wait! There is now a vaccine! Hallelujah! Hurrah! And surely I am first in line?

But no. And yes, this is starting to feel like a Monty Python Script.

I, the person with lung cancer, am literally at the back of the bus when it comes to vaccines. Healthcare workers (justifiable), prisoners, kindergarten teachers, those over seventy five, those over sixty five who are obese, smoke or have diabetes–all in line before me.

What doesn’t matter? Well, that I have cancer. Or–and this should be worth something–that I am now enrolled in my SIXTH PHASE ONE CLINICAL TRIAL. How’s that for community service? Not to mention the fact that all those frequent trips to the hospital make me even more vulnerable.

It hurts. It really does. To know where I stand. After all those years of being chosen last for dodge ball, you would think I had developed a thicker skin. But not.

Anyway. Back to the facts at hand. Here are the CDC recommendations as well as a list of qualifying comorbidities.

And here is the latest per COVID vaccines from Governor Charlie Baker and the state of Massachusetts.

In the meantime, all I can do is to continue to ask, complain, cajole, campaign. Vaccinate the most vulnerable.