Just a part of the herd…

Dec 30, 2020 | 0 comments

H.A. Espy Dairy Barn

My grandfather was a dairy farmer.  He knew all about herds of cattle, but I’m not sure he knew about herd immunity.  He was in the dairy business from 1902 until 1930.  The term “herd immunity” was coined in 1923 by researchers at the University of Manchester in England.  Whether or not the term was in popular usage by the time Papa went out of business, he probably understood the concept well enough.

Certainly, he knew about vaccinating.   Some of the old-timers of my childhood, perhaps ten or twelve years older than Papa, remembered when the smallpox vaccine to brought to Oysterville in the early 1870s and people simply scratched arms, vaccinating one another.

When Vaccines First Began

I think about all of those things when people ask me, as my cousin Abby did yesterday, if Nyel and I will be getting the vaccine soon.  Ab lives in Seattle, knows us to be old (me) and infirm (Nyel) and, somehow assumes Pacific County has a plan for us.  “Not that I’ve heard of,” I told her.  At one point, old folks who live in nursing homes or assisted living centers were being given prime consideration in the planning.

But, I haven’t heard that vaccine priorities have been fine-tuned yet.  Certainly not for all of us old folks who struggle to continue living independently.  After all, even if we should be so unlucky as to get the virus, and even if we should need hospitalization, we aren’t going to overwhelm our health facilities.  Not just two of us.  Not like the residents of a nursing home might.

I guess that’s why my thoughts turn to herd immunity.  Which will come first for our household?  The vaccine or the herd immunity?  When Nyel and I were talking about it recently, he said “I’ve been ruminating about that.” (Ruminate:  1) think deeply about something; 2) chew the cud.)


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