I’LL ADMIT, I didn’t want a COVID-19 shot but stood in line waiting with about 10 others at my downtown Walgreen’s and stepped up to the plate for jab #1. Thank you, Pfizer.

I was frightened to get the shot and yet, not as hesitant about a three-day serious spinal fusion I underwent at a Boston hospital 2 1/2 years ago.

How’s this different?

Joan Stylianos' Heart of Nashua column sig

I’m not sure. All I know is that COVID-19 has robbed us in multiple ways. Life isn’t the same, and most of us want badly to return to a pre-pandemic normal. I, like many of you, am looking for the silver bullet that rescues us from this hideous virus.

Vaccination appears to be our ticket out or at least the only sensible (and based on science) method for trying to manage COVID-19. More vaccinations will hopefully lead to the number of cases dropping and prevent mutations from rising.

However, there aren’t any guarantees and a boatload of unknowns: How effective are these vaccinations against transmission? Could there be side effects years down the road? Are booster shots inevitable?

City officials recently announced that about one out of every three Nashua residents has already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

I’ve spoken to strangers and those close to me about COVID-19. Some have had the shot or will be getting it. Others emphatically state they refuse to be inoculated.

One acquaintance in his 30s told me that dating in a COVID-world is bizarre as he visits the bar scene in the Gate City. Mask on, mask off, it gets a little tiring. He was on the fence about the vaccine, saw my post-vaccination Band-Aid and decided that he was going to sign up.

A woman I know in her 80s who lost her husband to COVID says she didn’t think twice about getting the vax and kept her two-shot appointments. She was so heartbroken over his passing at a long-term care facility last spring, especially since she had been unable to visit him for months. It’s been a difficult journey for her and her family.

As many continue to struggle, life goes on, and bills need to be paid. One sunny Saturday afternoon, I popped into Michaels craft store at crowded Webster Square on the Daniel Webster Highway. When I came out, I could hear the wailing of a saxophone in the distance. It was hauntingly beautiful.

As I got behind the wheel, I noticed a bearded man standing on the side of a parking lot near Trader Joe’s playing his sax with a sign behind him saying he was a local musician whose job had been affected by the pandemic. I made a donation and drove away.

It takes me back to Marvin Gaye’s spiritual anthem “What’s Going On” and how relevant those lyrics are in today’s world.

Joan Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column appears every other Thursday. She can be reached at jtania512@gmail.com.

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