The Boy with a Dream and a Cure
In the nineteenth century, a Member of Parliament went to Scotland to make an important speech. He travelled to Edinburgh by train, then took a horse-drawn carriage southward to his destination. But the roads were bad and the carriage became mired in mud.
A Scottish farm boy came to the rescue of the team of horses and helped to pull the carriage loose. The Member of Parliament asked the boy how much he owed him.
“Nothing,” the lad replied.
“Are you sure?” the politician pressed, but the boy declined payment. “Well, is there anything I can do for you? What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The boy replied, “I want to be a doctor.” The Member of Parliament offered to help the young Scot go to university and sure enough he followed through on his pledge. More than a half century later Winston Churchill lay dangerously ill with pneumonia, stricken while attending a wartime conference in Morocco. A new “wonder” drug was administered to him, a drug called penicillin that had been discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming.
You guessed it. Fleming was the young Scottish lad who came to the aid of the Member of Parliament. And the Member of Parliament was none other than Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s father.
Story printed in The Word for You Today, June-August 2021 edition
Infections, The Corona Virus, and Current Controversy
Penicillin belongs to a family of drugs called antibiotics that fight infections already in the body. It is not a vaccine like the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk in the early 1950s. Or, like the variety of vaccines developed recently to fortify the body against contracting the Covid-19 virus.
Covid-19 vaccines are totally different from antibiotics. Vail Health Foundation explains how the vaccine works this way:
While the vaccine is new and has been produced quickly, mRNA technology has been around for many years. The vaccine essentially takes a piece messenger RNA from the viral cell and causes our bodies to produce the protein that triggers the immune response and antibodies to ward off infection.
An mRNA vaccine does not actually contain the virus itself. An analogy is to think of it as an email sent to the muscle cells at the injection site that shows what a piece of viral protein looks like and then — like a Snapchat message — it disappears. Our bodies will develop an immune response to kill the viral protein and remember how to recognize it in the future. It is an amazing technology and a breakthrough in modern medicine.
Many have embraced the Covid-19 vaccine as a godsend. Others have eschewed it for various reasons:
- It hasn’t been thoroughly tested.
- The side effects are worrisome.
- I know people who have been vaccinated but got the virus anyway.
One thing for sure: the issue has been highly politicized, especially in the United States.
As a student at Rheems Elementary, I lined up in front of the school nurse to get my polio shot. Wearing a stiff, white cap banded in black, nurse Dorothy Baker gently touched the area with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, and then with a long syringe pressed the vaccine into my left arm, protecting against the disease. Shortly after, the vaccine was delivered in sugar cubes. I don’t remember a single voice protesting the vaccine, which would shield us against frightful time in an iron lung (a tank respirator) or life consigned to a wheelchair.
In January 2021, I got my first Covid-19 vaccination with the second following in mid-February. Although I am not immunocompromised, I will accept a booster shot when it becomes available for me in our city.