“The situation is shocking really. My wife and I were fully vaccinated, so I am one of the rare breakthrough cases that still caught it. But like the doctors said, I am so glad I got the vaccine, or I might be dead today. It’s no laughing matter,” said David Haby, 77, who just returned home to Medina County.
Mr. Haby spent 8 days in the ICU, plus 2 more days in the hospital, after testing positive for Covid-19 and developing pneumonia.
“The vaccine most definitely protected my wife, too,” Haby said. “We got the vaccine as soon as we were able to in February. We drove all the way to Uvalde to get it, and I’m so glad we did.”
“The vaccine is there, it’s free, so what’s the problem? Are people afraid of needles or what? I think some people are just afraid of the side effects or maybe they are scared of needles. Let me tell you, if you end up lying there in the ICU, you’re going to get stuck so many times, you’ll feel like you got the vaccine 100 times.”
“My nurses in the ICU told me that I was one of the only people in there who had been fully vaccinated. The other 98% percent in there had not gotten their shots. I was in deep trouble, and at my age, I had a light case compared to some of the other younger people in there who hadn’t had their shots. The people in that ICU are suffering miserably,” Haby added.
One of the most difficult things about this pandemic is not being able to be with your loved ones while they are fighting for their lives.
“My wife couldn’t even come in and see me for 10 days. All I saw were nurses, and this is a terrible time for them too. They have to put on a new gown, mask, and shield every time they come in, and every time they go out. I had really good nurses, they are professionals,” Haby said.
Haby remembers the Polio vaccine coming out when he was in grade school.
“I’ll never forget the doctor who made the announcement that the vaccines were here,” Haby said. “I was just a kid back then and I remember a lot of people who had gotten Polio and were crippled for the rest of their lives.”
According to experts, Polio has been eliminated in the United States for over 40 years, since 1979, thanks to wide vaccine coverage. Though travelers do sometimes bring it into the country, there is no year-long transmission here. The CDC estimates, that without the wide scale polio eradication efforts, more than 18 million people who are currently healthy would have been paralyzed by the virus.
However, countries that did not have easy access to Polio vaccines, suffered many more millions of cases for many years. There are still a few countries that continue struggling with the devastating effects of Polio to this very day, because of failure to vaccinate.
While the US has plenty of vaccines to curb the present Covid-19 pandemic, not every country does. According to WHO, Covid-19 took the life of 64,250 people across the world last week. Over 2,400 of those people were right here in the United States.
Right now, health units and hospitals all over the country, including our local health unit, have refrigerators full of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines. In Medina County, cases have doubled and doubled again in the past month, rising from 8 to over 140 in less than 5 week’s time.
Like Covid-19, many people carrying Polio were asymptomatic, yet it was a devastating and life-altering disease for some of their friends, relatives, and neighbors, just as Covid-19 is today.
“It’s a serious situation when you try to expand your chest—to breathe—and nothing goes in,” Haby adds, remembering some long nights in the ICU the past couple weeks. “I can’t understand the attitude some people have toward vaccines after all we’ve been through.”
By Kayleen Holder