Friday, November 26, 2021

Comic Cuts — 26 November 2021

Medical professionals have been treating me like a pin-cushion this week. I don't want you to think doctors and nurses have been laying in wait for me and leaping out with surprise vaccinations. This was all planned and I knew it was going to happen.

On Tuesday Mel and I went down to the local surgery for the flu vaccine as we were fortunately scheduled five minutes apart. And then, on Wednesday, I trekked out to a pharmacy in nearby Hythe and had my booster jab, the worst bit of which was how chilly it was walking across the bridge to get the the pharmacy, and then stepping into the waiting room, which was being kept at steam-room levels of heat. My glasses fogged up immediately and stayed that way for almost the whole of my wait. They were handing out an information leaflet that they wanted everyone to read before going in to see the nurse, but I'm blind without my specs, so I only got as far as page two of five before being called in — and they were running half an hour late.

The one very noticeable thing about the leaflet was that it was way out of date. The booster was the Pfizer vaccine, rather than the AstraZeneca I'd previously had, so I was kind of interested to see what the leaflet had to say, since the Pfizer famously had to be stored at low temperatures... and that was about all I knew. But the leaflet was talking about taking two doses three weeks apart, which meant it was printed during the early days of vaccination, before the advice changed to giving doses up to 12 weeks apart back in December 2020. That they're still handing out these leaflets makes me wonder just how many they printed.

I'd also forgotten that the Pfizer-BioNTECH vaccine was rolled out under the trade name Comirnaty. A bit of Googling reveals that this was dreamed up by a consultancy group called the Brand Institute and is meant to be a agglomeration of the words "Covid-19 immunity" and "mRNA". "The word is intended to evoke 'community'," a Brand Institute executive was quoted as saying, to which my reply would be... "Too late!" Like Hoover and Xerox, the vaccine is going to be known as Pfizer forever. Just listening in to people in the pharmacy asking about which vaccine they were to be given, everyone just referred to it as Pfizer.

Googling on, it seems that the name Comirnaty was trademarked in June 2020, before the vaccine  even existed. BioNTECH (another name that was dreamed up by consultants, no doubt) registered a bunch of names including Covuity, Kovimerna and RnaxCovi.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is called Covishield in India, apparently, and they wanted to be known as Vaxzevria in the UK, while Moderna were thinking "You know what? We should call ourselves SPYKEVAX!"

In the future, if we truly have to live with the Vid—as it will inevitably be shortened to—in the years ahead, you might find yourself saying, "I'm just off to get a Vaxzevria at the Jab-U-like," which is the name I've invented to replace pharmacy. Why not... there's money to be had in thinking up dumb names.

We had another Art Trail locally, in which various little studios open up to show off their wares in Wivenhoe. It seemed quieter than the last one, but I suspect that was down to it being November. Everyone is still being incredibly cautious, with some places limiting the number of people in small spaces to two at a time; during the summer, many opened up their gardens and put up display tables, or hung things on fences, which added to the relaxed atmosphere. We spent a happy hour and a half wandering around a handful of homes, saw some very clever and expensive trinkets, plus one or two overpriced pieces that make me think I'm in the wrong job. Fewer landscapes, more expressionism this time. And no photos as I'd left my camera on charge.

The camera usually accompanies me everywhere. I'm still taking photos of sunrises and smoky shots of misty rivers. You get so used to certain sights that change can come as a shock. This morning, for instance, one of the boats was missing (see below). It has starred in dozens of photos over the past few months and suddenly... it's gone. To live on a farm, Mel tells me. A farm with a lovely river.

I'm writing this on Thursday and I'm planning to take tomorrow morning off for a shopping trip into town. As you can guess, I haven't done a lot of work this week, so I'll have a bit to catch up on next week. I have the slightest ache in my arm from the vaccine jab, so that's my excuse for having a lazy couple of days.

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