Some people are starting to have booster fatigue - comment

Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that the number of people who will be trudging back to get their fourth shot will be lower than those that got their third, which was lower than the first two.

An elderly Israeli is seen receiving the third COVID-19 booster shot at a Clalit clinic in Jerusalem, on August 1, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
An elderly Israeli is seen receiving the third COVID-19 booster shot at a Clalit clinic in Jerusalem, on August 1, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A respectable Jerusalem-area family doctor whom I’ve known for years reacted on Monday to a Facebook post of a mutual 60+ friend who had just received his fourth COVID shot. My doctor friend said he wasn’t sure he was going to do the same.

He might at this point just take his chances with the prospect of contracting Omicron, he wrote, and if that occurs, he would rely on taking Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral treatment pill that the country’s health facilities are currently stockpiling.

His view complemented others that have been espoused recently by a number of thrice-vaccinated, responsible citizens, who don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories and who willingly wear masks in elevators and stores.

Is it COVID-19 fatigue? A false feeling of invincibility after surviving two years without testing positive? Or maybe, despite Tuesday’s announcement that studies at Sheba Medical Center indicated a fourth dose boosts antibodies fivefold a week after the shot is administered, it’s the sense that Omicron doesn’t really discriminate between those vaccinated and those unprotected.

Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that the number of people who will be trudging back to get their fourth shot will be lower than those who got their third, which was lower than the first two.

 Adults over the age of 60 receive a 4th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at a Clallit vaccine center in Jerusalem on January 3, 2022.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Adults over the age of 60 receive a 4th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at a Clallit vaccine center in Jerusalem on January 3, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The reports that Omicron cases are generally light for those with three shots, combined with the new medicine that will counteract the effects of the “virus that refuses to die” if you do contract it, will only add to the ammunition of those who have fallen into a wide void earmarked by apathy and resignation.

I’m on the edge of that abyss. Two days after the government announced that the next booster shot would be available to my age group, I still have not made an appointment or attempted a walk-in at my local clinic to get the jab. And that’s despite the dire warning that the number of Israelis contracting Omicron will reach upward of 50,000 within days, and that one in every four citizens will become infected before this strain subsides. Or maybe it’s because of it. The almost apocalyptic avalanche of information (tsunami is so yesterday) is sparking a total paralysis of movement and thought.

I reckon that the thinking out there is, “We’re all going to get it, so do nothing, see no one, and let this period pass. And please, please, let me avoid going to one of those labyrinth drive-through testing sites to wait in line for three hours.”

Of course, that’s impractical and avoidance of reality. So like with the shots before, I will straggle in one day soon and do what I can to avoid corona as we enter our third year of the pandemic.

My doctor friend may have the right idea, but in this never-ending medical game of Russian roulette, I prefer diminishing the odds rather than taking my chances with infection and Paxlovid.

It may not pan out, but in any scenario, one small step away from the edge of the abyss of apathy is a big step toward the future.