All I Want for Christmas

Two vaccines! YES! As we approach the holidays, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a second vaccine created by Moderna for use in combating the corona virus. Those vaccines have left the warehouse. Two vaccines – Great News!

But there’s bad news too. Seems there is always a but – add a second “t” if you would like, it is entirely appropriate – in this pandemic.

The bad news is: The U.S. is reporting more than 250,000 new cases a day. More than 313,000 people have died. An American dies every 33 seconds, according to the Washington Post. And Christmas is right around the corner, a time when families yearn to be together to share love and holiday cheer. This year it could mean spreading disease.

I recalled that song, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” I thought when the lyrics flashed through my head that all I want for Christmas is the truth.

Just this past week it looked as if a solution was at hand. Pfizer’s vaccine, the first vaccine approved by the FDA, was being delivered and administered. Then, word leaked that states were not getting what they were promised. Here we go again, I thought. Ashes and switches.

A Health and Human Services spokesman initially denied that there had been any changes in the allotment to the states. That prompted questions about Pfizer’s manufacturing capabilities. Pfizer promptly put out a statement saying, not so. “We have millions more doses sitting in warehouses but no orders.”

BTW: Not that I am a cynic, but Pfizer and the Feds are negotiating prices for more doses.

Now, back to our Christmas fairy tale: Army General Gustave Perna, the chief of Operation Warp Speed, fell on his sword, or should we say syringe? General Perna stepped in front of the media and said the whole thing was his fault. Apparently, that was all that he said that made sense according to the reports.

“There is a delay between what is available and what is releasable,” General Perna said. “Because we’re talking about hundreds and thousands and millions of doses that we want to make sure are right.” And, the general added, “The FDA does a fantastic job of doing that.”

What is warped about the general’s comments is this: the FDA does not review vaccines before their distribution.

Could Washington operate without fingers? We’re not talking middle finger, although that digit is certainly useful too. No, I’m talking about finger-pointing as official policy. My fault versus your fault. Are ten fingers enough for each individual government official in our two-party system? Elected officials might need even more digits, maybe more appendages, like an octopus.

Why am I being so sarcastic? Because I want Americans to give one another Valentines on February 14th not romantic masks. I want the vaccines to truly be a sign of the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. And the holidays have arrived.

I’m going to concentrate on that instead of health care for a while. Even if I do not get the truth for Christmas, I want to wish everyone a healthy, safe, and loving holiday season. We’ll meet again in the New Year, 2021, a year of promise!

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