Return to Wicomico

Two-thirds of the local population has yet to receive a first dose, but almost nobody's showing up anymore to get one.

“Second dose?” a National Guardsman asked me as I came through the double doors to the Wicomico Civic Center. “That line over there,” he said, barely waiting for me to answer.

I was preparing to ask how he could tell I was a second-doser when he repeated the same thing to the woman behind me. At this stage, apparently, you can pretty much assume in these parts that almost everybody’s crossing the threshold for a second dose. That suggests my earlier effort to improve public health by taunting inhabitants of this rural spot (“We’re plucking you quaint rustics like a plump Delmarva chicken”) failed to achieve the desired result.

One-third of Wicomico County residents (33.263 percent) have received their first Covid dose, situating it in the bottom quarter of Maryland counties. That “second dose?” query signals this percentage isn’t likely to increase very speedily. Twenty-nine percent of Wicomico County is fully vaccinated. That beats the hell out of 20.2 percent in Washington, D.C., which is why I drove six hours to get vaccinated for the second time in a month. (By comparison, New York state, which includes the most populous city in the U.S., has fully vaccinated 32.6 percent.) But 29 percent isn’t very good in light of the comparative ease with which you can get the vaccine out on the Eastern Shore. Salisbury, Md., is a sort of vaccine Candyland situated where nobody fancies sweets.

A week ago, when 26 percent of Wicomico County was fully vaccinated, a local news channel reported that county officials were attributing the low rate to “people in rural areas having a hard time getting to vaccine clinics and people mistrusting the vaccines.” But surely nowhere close to two-thirds of the county population lacks the practical means to travel to the civic center to get vaccinated. According to the Census Bureau, the county’s poverty rate is 16 percent. I can’t find a statistic for car ownership, but 89.5 percent of households here have computers, and 80.5 percent have broadband. (All these statistics were gathered in the last six years.) Computers are cheaper than cars, but in most places statistics about ownership of one tend not to diverge too far from statistics about ownership of the other.

Meanwhile, back in the District, matters are improving but vaccinations are still a fiasco. The efficiency statistic measuring the percentage of doses used continues to put D.C. near the bottom nationally. The main culprit is the “federal partnership,” meaning mostly vaccine distribution through pharmacies, which are not permitted to schedule appointments on their own but must run everything through the D.C. vaccination portal. The federal partnership in D.C. uses 56 percent of its doses, which means it doesn’t use 44 percent, which at this late date is quite a lot. The best you can say is it’s better than a month ago, when the partnership was failing to use closer to 80 percent.

Let the record show that the District finally invited me to schedule a first dose for the same day I ended up driving back to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for my second. I was careful to select the Walter Washington Convention Center, which was administering Pfizer, because my first dose was Pfizer. But I didn’t want to give up my Wicomico appointment without receiving assurance from the District that it would consent to giving me that second dose rather than the scheduled first. The District said no. Then I tried to persuade the state of Maryland to give me my second dose a bit closer to D.C. than Salisbury. No again.

So off I went, once again speeding my blue Prius past a flat expanse of pastures, cornfields, tattoo parlors, chicken plants, VFW posts, Trump signs, and Family Dollar stores. Once again, the crowd at the vaccination site was small, and once again I was moved through the line quickly, and within a quarter of an hour joined the 29.5 percent of the population that’s fully vaccinated.

We are an elite club. We do not wish to be, but the vaccine have-nots seem determined to make us one. In the Atlantic, David A. Graham writes,

the pattern of resistance to the coronavirus vaccines looks less like Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy and more like COVID-19 denialism. While a significant chunk of Americans profess to be uneasy about getting shots to prevent Covid-19, most come from the swath of the population that has tended to downplay the disease’s severity and to resist other measures to fight it, rather than the swaths that have resisted vaccines for other diseases.

Graham cites an essay in the pro-Trump publication American Greatness by one Peter D’Abrosca, a self-described “healthy 29 year-old.” D’Abrosca writes that he refuses to get vaccinated, then explains that his decision isn’t based on medical concerns, or fear of government overreach. D’Abrosca refuses to get vaccinated because “the vile political Left” wishes him to:

I dislike the people who want me to take it, and it makes them mad when they hear about my refusal. That, in turn, makes me happy. 

Maybe it’s petty, but the thought of the worst people on planet earth, those whom I like to call the Branch Covidians, literally shaking as I stroll into Target vaccine-free, makes me smile.

Maybe it’s petty? Tell us more!

It wasn’t until the sociopathic mediocrity that is the entrenched liberal political class in Washington began bullying normal people into wearing masks, staying home, standing six feet apart from others at all times, mobilizing even less impressive liberal stormtroopers to play the role of Covid-19 prevention Gestapo, and then finally propped up the vaccine as the Holy Grail that would lead us back to “normalcy,” that I finally began to have an opinion on vaccines….

If those bastards want me to get the jab, I’m not going to do it, because it annoys them. 

I see. As I back away slowly, I extend my gratitude, once again, to the people of Wicomico County for allowing me to secure the Covid vaccines that two-thirds of them have no apparent use for.