Is this the beginning of the end? People are excited across the United States. In the early morning of December 14, special containers filled with dry ice poured over small vials arrived at a hospital in Long Island, New York. The hospital soon announced to both domestic and foreign media that a historical briefing would be held.
“Isn’t it the hospital to administer the first COVID-19 vaccine in the country? It is a great day today,” the Uber driver taking me to the press said. I wondered if this is similar to how Americans felt 51 years ago when they learned that American astronauts landed on the moon.
A nurse named Sandra Lindsay who was the first to be vaccinated in the U.S. showed up to the press conference. “I’ve seen too much death on site. I hope my vaccination to be the beginning of the end of the painful times,” she said to the press. Other healthcare professionals were also vaccinated in front of cameras with people cheering after each injection, which is an unusual sight to see grown-ups showered with applause for an injection. “It is a historical day. I am very happy that the first vaccinations happened at our hospital,” said a member of the hospital.
About 3,000 people lose lives every day due to COVID-19 in the U.S., which is equivalent to the number of victims from the September 11 attacks. Given the situation, it is nothing strange that Americans compared the current situation to wartime.
The U.S. has a goal to vaccinated 100 million people by March next year and achieve herd immunity by June at the latest. If successful, it will be the first country to escape the COVID-19 nightmare in the world with vaccines serving as game-changers. It is a dramatic turnaround considering that the U.S. has been ridiculed by other countries for being the worst-hit victim of the virus.
Of course, it is a long way to go until the end of COVID-19 and concerns about the safety of vaccines still remain, but it is hard to deny that the U.S. has found a potential exit out of the painful tunnel of the pandemic earlier than any other countries.
A major U.S. daily newspaper published the pictures of Vice President Michael Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi getting vaccinated side by side last weekend. President-elect Joe Biden and three former presidents are also scheduled to be vaccinated soon. While U.S. politicians normally can’t stand each other between parties, they have become united with all tensions behind when it comes to vaccines on which the country’s fate is dependent. It is because they share a sense of crisis that the current situation can swallow the entire country and the judgment that vaccines are the only possible exit out of it. It is hard to shake off the thought that South Korea’s failure to secure vaccine supply is the price of the lack of such leadership, a sense of desperation, and judgment.
Jae-Dong Yu firstname.lastname@example.org