Roller Coaster Marathon

I woke up on Tuesday morning to the breaking news that the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was on ‘pause’ in the U.S.  Six cases of a rare blood clotting problem have been reported in young women who were recently vaccinated.  A further look is in order.

This news caused chills up my spine and not in a good way.

I first heard the term, ‘roller coaster marathon’ when I was receiving my cancer treatment and it was pretty descriptive.  It seems to be a good descriptor for the pandemic, as well. 

I know I had my hopes up as the vaccine roll out was going smoothly after a few initial bumps.  Pretty much every state is opening up eligibility to everyone 16 and older.  Millions of people are getting vaccinated every day.

Of course, infections and hospitalizations are up too as more people shrug off the pandemic even if they aren’t vaccinated.

And now we have the Johnson and Johnson news.  I have confidence that it will get sorted out and these are rare events – 6 events in 7+ million doses. But any ‘pause’ could have a chilling effect on people who are reluctant to get vaccinated or are down right vaccine refusers. 

I think we are going to hit the wall soon in that regard.  I predict most people who want to get vaccinated will do so soon and then we will have more vaccine than takers.  I have two friends who live in Montana.  That is already coming true in their communities.  That is when the really hard work begins for public health and others.  That work includes multiple communication strategies to reduce reluctance and refusals and hard-core outreach into underserved communities who may have difficulty accessing vaccine for a variety of reasons.

So I said to myself, self I said, self, ‘what can you do about this?’ 

The answer is probably not a heck of a lot.  While I am not an expert by any means, I can certainly convey my confidence in the vaccine and my knowledge about COVID 19 to people who come my way.

I have been vaccinated, I wear a mask when I am out and about and I wash my hands.  My husband and two of our daughters are fully vaccinated and our third daughter is halfway there. Three of our grandchildren (16, 18, and 19) are up next. 

This dilemma made me think about the brilliant Brian Andreas, the Story People founder (unfortunately he is no longer associated with Story People).  I have always loved his ‘Illusion of Control’, pictured above.  I think all of us are on a ‘roller coaster marathon’ when it comes to COVID 19 and trying to control any of it is an illusion!

If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control. But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.

Illusion of Control, Story People

So we let the wind carry us at Penrose Point State Park. Check out my Instagram at travelswithallene for the photos.

And Happy Birthday to our Montana daughter!

See you on Friday,



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