How much Tylenol could kill you
Corona vaccination USA: The vaccinations work so well in the USA
In Albertson's supermarket in Saint George, Utah, a small town on the edge of Zion National Park, what US President Joe Biden has promised for April 19 is already possible. Anyone over the age of 16 can then get vaccinated, regardless of their priorities.
"Covid vaccine available, without registration," advertises a sign in front of a bookshelf, right next to the supermarket pharmacy. This is where the short queue begins, in which there are six people who have been vaccinated this afternoon, as well as a senior and two young women. A woman of Asian descent has brought her son with her. She has no ID for him. “He's over 16 years old,” she says. The pharmacist frowns and calls a hotline. "Okay," he says then. The vaccination centers in the US are instructed to be flexible. Many Americans do not have a passport.
Usually you identify yourself with your driver's license. Depending on the state (16 issue driver's licenses even without presenting a passport or birth certificate), illegal immigrants do not have this document either. Which is why the assurance that you are either of the required age or that you belong to a priority group is sufficient. The guideline is clear: vaccinate instead of rejecting.
I too get vaccinated this Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Easter. It is my second vaccination with Pfizer-Biontech. I received the first in the same supermarket three weeks earlier. My home state of California has been vaccinating everyone over the age of 50 since April 1st. Because of a previous illness, I could have gotten vaccinated at the beginning of March. But it was not possible to get an appointment in Silicon Valley because the number of people willing to be vaccinated is particularly high here.
During a business trip to Las Vegas, I decided to make a detour to Utah, to Saint George. The city is in the southwestern corner of Utah. Just under a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, which is a stone's throw for US standards.
In Utah, all over 50s have been vaccinated since the beginning of March. The day before my first vaccination, there were plenty of appointments, especially at supermarkets and drugstores. Almost every large supermarket in the US has a pharmacy that traditionally dispenses vaccinations.
Log in via the portal of Albertsons, the second largest supermarket chain in the USA, select the location and time, done. Two minutes later, the appointment is confirmed by email. There are more vaccines in Utah than those who care. It could be related to the fact that the state is very conservative, even though the country's most prominent politician - Mitt Romney - is one of Trump's harshest critics. Trump won Utah in 2020 with 58 percent of the vote.
According to polls, between 35 and 45 percent of Republican supporters do not want to be vaccinated. However, Saint George is liberal by Utah standards. Here 57 percent voted for the re-election of Trump, almost forty percent for Biden.
The vaccine also polarizes the believers. The willingness to be vaccinated is particularly low among Protestants. For Catholics, including Joe Biden, it is much higher, also because the Vatican has publicly spoken out in favor of it.
The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, also recommends vaccination. The heads of the Church, especially their 96-year-old President Russell Nelson, made a statement in January and had themselves publicly vaccinated.
For my second vaccination, I no longer need to show my California driver's license. The vaccination card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sufficient. The stamp of the Albertsons-Apotheke is already emblazoned on the document, as well as the banderole from the first vaccination with Pfizer / Biontech including the batch number. I just have to fill out a certificate again, in which I agree to the vaccination and asks about possible allergies. Fever is not measured, one relies on self-disclosure.
"This time the after-effects could be a little stronger, ideally take ibuprofen or Tylenol straight away," says the woman at the registration. Albertsons conveniently has a special offer on ibuprofen in stock - $ 4.55 for the pack of 50 tablets.
The form with the declaration of consent is scanned. Two minutes later I'm sitting in a four-square-meter alcove with no door. The same nurse as three weeks ago skillfully pokes the cannula into my left upper arm and sticks the batch number on the CDC vaccination card. “It's best to stay here for another 20 minutes because of possible allergic reactions,” she recommends, pointing to a row of chairs on the shelf with the toilet paper. Customers push their full shopping trolleys down the aisle next to me.
After ten minutes my left hand itches a bit and I feel like I've thrown three cups of espresso at once. No question about it, my immune system is reacting.
Back to Las Vegas. On Interstate 15 I turn on the driver assistance system, it goes 110 miles straight ahead, past rugged landscapes, shimmering red rocks and mountain streams, briefly through Arizona, back to Nevada in the Pacific time zone, where it is an hour earlier. In Las Vegas I check into the Sahara Hotel, diagonally across from the new $ 4.3 billion mega-casino "Resorts World", which is due to open this summer. The room in the Sahara is $ 29, a recently renovated four-star hotel. I've never lived so cheaply in Las Vegas.
The night is quiet, I have no after-effects. In the morning I take a walk to the new Las Vegas Convention Center building. The big attraction there is a tunnel that Elon Musk's Boring Company dug. Teslas placed on platforms are supposed to whiz along under the exhibition grounds at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. The tunnel was actually supposed to be inaugurated in January for the CES consumer electronics fair. But because of Corona, this only took place virtually. “I was down there, the tunnel is provided with colored LEDs,” a friendly construction worker explains to me. “Do you know the sci-fi movie Tron? It works in exactly the same way. "
It goes back to Silicon Valley. Interstate 15 is busy this morning. A tractor-trailer lined up next to the other. It is the main route into the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Only when I turn towards Northern California at Barstow does the traffic die down. In the small town of Mojave I pass the famous desert airport, where airlines from all over the world park their decommissioned jets in the desert. Several dozen aircraft are visible, including at least three aircraft with the Lufthansa logo.
During the eight-hour drive I listen to Berlin radio on the Internet. Every hour on the hour, the news informs about a possible lockdown in Germany. One message revolves around vaccine nationalism. This is not an issue in the USA. Donald Trump has decreed that no Covid vaccine produced in the USA may be exported. His successor Joe Biden has kept this. Even if Biden has now made exceptions in the neighboring countries Canada and Mexico.
Nine hours after leaving Las Vegas, I'm back home in California. There is an envelope with a check card in the mailbox. It is the current US government stimulus payment to stimulate the economy. There is up to $ 1,400 per adult in this round, in addition to the up to $ 1,800 last year.
America has suffered badly from the pandemic and is currently lamenting the highest number of corona deaths. Depending on the political structure of the states, there were no lockdowns or only mild (Republican governed) or somewhat tougher lockdowns (democratically governed). The anger about this spreads across party lines. In California, which has been cracked down, a campaign is underway to remove Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor, from his office.
But the US has also done a lot right, from unbureaucratic unemployment benefits that also included the self-employed, to aid payments for eighty percent of all households and moratoria on evictions due to lack of rent payments. Above all, however, when ordering vaccines under US President Trump, who paid attention not only to quantities, but also to delivery speed. And on which Biden is now building with an accelerated vaccination campaign. The costs for this are of secondary importance.
It helps that, with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, the two largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are based in the USA and that both, plus the US company Moderna, have successful Covid vaccines in their program.
The USA's greatest strength, however, is improvising. There is also more than enough bureaucracy here, especially in California. But when there is really a need, you ignore the so-called “red tape”. For my vaccination I filled out two documents and gave two signatures. It took two minutes to make an appointment. It couldn't have been easier. Currently, nearly 20 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated. The country is behind Chile (22 percent) and front runner Israel (54 percent).
It looks like herd immunity will be possible in the US by summer. And with that hopefully normality will return. An economic boom is on the horizon. In any case, the traffic is rolling again.
More on the subject: Germany is still waiting for the vaccination campaign to finally pick up speed. After all: the mobilization of the Bundeswehr is starting.
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