Dear Vaccine

My fellow inebriates,

I’m submitting a poem to “Dear Vaccine” ( It is a global community poem that I just learned about today when listening to CBC Radio, inviting people to share their voices to promote COVID-19 vaccination through poetry.

So, I’m poised to enter my poem. I’ve loaded it into the field and am about to hit “enter.” Will they accept it? I’m very nervous… So just in case they don’t (for the multiple reasons they might reject it), here’s my poem:

We liked the day the traffic stopped,

The banging pots and pans.

The way we wanted to protect

Our granddads and our grans.


And suddenly we all were home,

with Zoom-enabled work.

With four of us and gerbils too,

We quickly went berserk.


At first they said: Don’t bother with

A face-shield or a mask.

“You’ll just spread germs! You’ll wear it wrong!”

They didn’t make the ask.


And that was dumb, but so was when

They said: “Go back to school!”

Why not share air with 30 kids?

Why wouldn’t that be cool?


And even dumber was the time

They said to stay in our “safe six.”

That only works if you can trust

Your six aren’t total dicks.


And while the numbers climbed and climbed,

Yet assholes still did frolic,

The government’s response was just

Chaotic and shambolic.


To mask or not? To get a test?

To bubble with your neighbour?

To get the CERB (or pay it back)?

To safely sell your labour?


And frontline workers, nurses, docs—

You get the biggest callout.

While douchebags rallied without masks,

You suffered through the fallout.


For those of us who work from home,

We should know we are lucky.

The fridge is here, and all the snacks.

It’s really not so sucky.


When you are home all night and day,

The liquor bottles beckon.

Why not pour Bailey’s in my tea?

It just seems fair, I reckon.


And on that note, why not partake

Of Cuervo with my brunch?

Why wait with jitters and the sweats

For noon-time liquid lunch?


And BC Liquor Stores, you jewel!

You made our booze essential.

Who cares if productivity

Has not been exponential?


So it’s been good, but it’s been bad.

For kids it has been rough.

A year without their grandparents

Is way, way, way too tough.


And now we have not just one shot,

But two or three or four,

To make those fucking protein spikes

Torment us nevermore.


“So which one should I get?” you ask,

When there’s a veritable menu.

Not only can you choose your jab;

You get your choice of venue.


But government, you’ve let us down.

You’ve vacillated once again.

You say the best shot is the one

That’s offered, while NACI maintains

It’s Pfizer you should get at once,

Not AZ if you have a choice.

Moderna, too, can beat those spikes,

And Pfizer’s good for girls and boys.


If you are stuck with AZ, then

Be glad that it’s not Sputnik.

The odds are astronomically against

A nasty platelet uptick.


It’s okay if you have some fears…

The needle stick, the achy arm.

The big thing is you understand

How vaccines can prevent much harm.


So anti-vaxers, hear me now:

You shut your mouths and take your shot!

It’s easy—all you’re gonna feel

Is soreness, and you will not clot.


The very best thing that our world

Has done is make vaccines.

When we’re all jabbed, we can feel safe.

Just think what that would mean.

Can you drink after the COVID-19 vaccine?

My fellow inebriates,

My dad has had his first dose of the vaccine, and my mum is on the list. As you know, bears need no vaccine because we are already petri dishes of jockeying germs, and COVID wouldn’t make a difference to us.

My dad got the shot shortly after having actual COVID, which kicked his ass for a good three weeks. Just as he was starting to recover, BAM! Pfizer kicked his ass with three bonus days of fever and sweats. All good now, though.

Perhaps needless to say, my dad wasn’t much of a party animal as we headed into spring. Where once I could rely on him to pour (and share) a beer or whiskey in the evening, COVID-infected Dad was no fun at all.

(To recap why I depend on my parents to open the bar, I have no thumbs.)

So now my mum’s about to get her jab, and she’s talking about abstaining from alcohol to maximize her immune response.

I immediately went to Google to find some evidence against this sort of extremist action.

The idea that alcohol could mess with immunity first surfaced in Russia, where a health official recommended abstaining two weeks before the vaccine and 42 days afterward. Russians were incensed by this of course.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

There is no evidence for this recommendation. No COVID/alcohol studies have been conducted. All we have to go on is the evidence from past studies on animals to see whether alcohol affected their immune responses after vaccination. Where do I sign up for one of those animal studies? (It helps to be a rat or a monkey.)

What evidence is there?

Subjects with alcohol use disorder have increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections. Moderate alcohol use is associated with an enhanced immune response.

Monkeys who were given all-access drinking privileges for seven months and whose blood/alcohol levels regularly exceeded 80 mg/ml had a lowered immune response. But monkeys who drank moderately had higher levels of antiviral cytokines.

So, Mum, moderate is the way to go. And moderate is okay. To be honest, I don’t need to see my you or Dad bust out these days—it would be embarrassing for everybody. Just pour yourself 1.5 oz. of something nice, and be ready to share it with this would-be experimental bear.