I’m one of the lucky few. The COVID-19 vaccine found its way into my arm. However my pandemic protection feels like random win (we need to vaccinate 331 million citizens). Too many qualifying friends and neighbors are still hunting appointments. Vaccine demand and supply are at odds, but crisis management is underway.
Who is answering the call to manage vaccine development, safeguards, handoffs, storage, reporting and distribution? The US Department of Health and Human Services. The women and men with the federal government in DC and local partners are in crisis mode to deliver vaccines nationwide for free (after tax).
Ironically, much of our political class believes the federal government is a scourge in our daily lives. This has become religion since Ronald Regan delivered his famous quote “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”
More terrifying words? There is no help.
The young woman who gave me the shot, and the folks managing the event at the nearby Fred M. Rogers Center were efficient and competent. Their benevolence was palpable.
We need to take a deep breath and acknowledge how the federal government serves each of us every day. Federal employees are hard-working regular folk. Their job; maintain roads, bridges, parks, air traffic control, support the military, ensure clean air and water, protect the nation's food supply, as well as administer a long list of unsung vital services. Government needs to do better in many areas, but consider the awesome task at hand. The individuals serving the government need our support.
My fifteen minutes to get a lifesaving vaccine is the “shot in the arm” proving the argument. Our federal government can do better, but let’s honor the women and men delivering critical help in this historic moment.
All those feds with Health and Human Services. They have my thanks.