How I Got My Vaccine When the State Failed Me

The fine line between obedience and folly

Omar Sharaki

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

While the US is busy vaccinating its way toward proving the world wrong, Germany and other European nations are limping far behind; it seems the tortoise has finally overtaken the hare. And while people in the US are inundated with vaccines and able to get their shots without even leaving their cars, over here in continental Europe, most people are literally hustling to get their jabs.

Until a few days ago, I was not most people. Whether it’s because I’m a foreigner or because the Merkel diamond makes such a reassuring impression, like so many others in Germany, I had placed my faith in the government. As such, I followed the official guidelines and registered myself on my state’s online vaccination platform, and dutifully waited to be called up. In fact, up until 7 June 2021, when vaccination priorities ended, there was really no alternative.

And this didn’t at all seem like a misstep. After all, following guidelines was what garnered Germany praise during the first lockdown. When citizens and residents were told they needed to stay indoors, they took it on the chin and endured, understanding that this was for the best — at least the majority did. And so we complied, since, ultimately, all it takes is one defector for the whole line to break. But what once seemed like the country’s strongest trait in the face of a raging pandemic, now showed its soft underbelly — and boy was I holding on tight.

As vaccine supplies slowly increased and more and more places started offering the shot, more and more people started abandoning the unmoving queue and forging their own paths: getting in touch with their doctors, other people’s doctors, or the guy on the street corner in the non-suspicious-looking trench coat. From there, the defection rate only increased, until even those few loyal, naive, desperate souls still waiting in line for the government’s inoculating teat couldn’t help but twitch. Surely it can’t be much longer, can it? Can it?!

When two of my closest friends told me they’d unsolicitedly received appointments for their first shot by their doctors, that’s when I finally caved. I scoured the internet like a madman looking for an appointment somewhere. Anywhere. But no dice…

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Omar Sharaki

Software developer, standup comedian, and guy you wouldn’t mind sitting next to on a plane.