By Patty Wilber
(I apparently just discovered the fun of GIFs….)
Thursday morning I woke up to a text from the NM Dept. of Health saying I was eligible for my COVID vaccine! Apparently it was teacher day because a lot of my college colleagues also got appointments!
I tried to log on. It said I was not registered.
Well, that was clearly wrong, as they are the ones that sent me an alert and that would not happen if I had not already registered. I went to my computer instead of my phone and got everything typed in correctly and whew, I was in.
I went to the schedule a shot area, and entered all the information and my event code then it said I was NOT eligible for a shot today.
So I sent a text. I sent an email. I tried seven more times.
I got in! I got an appointment!
I got to the vaccination site about fifteen minutes before my appointment. There were LOTS of people there to get vaccinated and lots of people helping out.
I was not on the list.
A lot of people were not on the list.
Turns out we were all on a different list. Well, ok, making progress!
In we all went in a nice orderly socially distanced fashion.
We stood on our blue Xs. Oops! We had all be given the wrong paperwork to fill out, so we filled out a new form.
And oh, by the way, they said, we are switching systems at noon (which was somehow related to the two list issue.)
Why, I wonder, would a big operation like this switch systems in the middle of a day as opposed to a the start of a new day?
None of us really cared, however, because we could see all the vaccines lined up waiting for us, so it was just a matter of the ducks getting in a row.
And so eventually, I got my shot, waited 15 minutes in case of any adverse reactions, and was done!
I went home and rode four horses. My arm is a tad sore, but not as bad as it was with the flu shot. So far, no other reactions.
I am supposed to get my next shot, April 1, the very day I am leaving for a big horse show in Arizona. I hope to be able to reschedule (the shot, not the show), and while they like to get shot #2 into you at day 28, there is a 42 day window, I was told, for the booster.
I got the Moderna shot, so its mRNA. mRNA vaccines are the on the cutting edge of vaccine development!
Simplified explanation: “COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.“
So, when my cells make the COVID protein, my immune system will do a double take and build antibodies against the odd protein.
Once I have antibodies against the spike protein, if I get exposed to the actual virus, my antibodies will stick on the spikes. This gums up the spike and prevents the spikes from sticking to my cells. If the virus cannot stick to my cells, it cannot get into my cells, and viruses HAVE to get into cells to replicate and to cause illness. So, my antibodies can stop that from happening!
I looked up a couple of horse diseases and vaccines and settled on flu.
Did you know that flu in horses can be transmitted from one horse to another at a distance as far as FIFTY feet? YOW. That is a long social distance!
There are two types of flu vaccines for horses: Inactivated (killed) vaccines for intramuscular administration and Modified-live vaccine for intranasal administration.
Simplified explanation: With these vaccines, the horse gets the whole virus in its muscle or up its nose, not a bit of code like the mRNA vaccine. The horse body then “sees” the foreign proteins of the virus on the actual virus and builds an immune response.
Then, when the horse is exposed to the live-infective-illness-causing flu virus, said horse already has the protective antibodies to stop the virus from sticking to the cells, getting into the cells and causing disease in that horse. The immune response also prevents large scale replication, so that new viruses are not made and other horses are not exposed.
Flu strains in horses mutate like human strains, and there is monitoring and annual reporting on horse flu outbreaks and strains! Check this out!
The American Association of Equine Practitioners webpage also has all sort of interesting information on horse vaccines!
If enough horses or people are immune to a particular disease, then we have “herd immunity”.