A Father’s Day Reflection by Dean Andreas Loewe
‘That needle’s gonna hurt’, I told my dad. I was in second grade, and my dad had taken me to the GP for my polio-booster jab. I hadn’t had many injections I could remember, but those that I did recall all had hurt. ‘Do I have to have it?’
My dad was a scientist at Heidelberg University of Education—the Heidelberg in Germany, not the one near Ivanhoe—and he was both accurate and truthful. ‘Yes, it’ll hurt a bit’, he told me. ‘But you’ve got to have it. Not just for you, but for the other kids. Everyone needs to be vaccinated so that polio remains eradicated’.
And he proceeded to tell me the story of the polio vaccine. How, in the year he was born, an incredible medical breakthrough had taken place which meant that polio could be eradicated world over. When he grew up, in the 1950s, that vaccine was being developed and administered. Because of the polio jab, children were no longer in danger of being paralysed from the illness. Of course, I got vaccinated. And my dad was right. It did hurt—a bit—but it was over really quickly, and I got a lolly as a reward.
Fast forward some 40 years to my GP’s surgery. ‘This is the 70 plus cohort, here for their first Covid-jab’, the practice nurse told a client. ‘And Andreas, he’s the Dean of Melbourne. He’s got to have the jab because he does hospital visits’, she said pointing at me, since I clearly was a bit younger than the rest.
I had come to receive my first Astra-Zeneca jab. Another incredible breakthrough in scientific research that, hopefully, will in this decade lead to the eradication of Covid19. I don’t recall the needle hurting as the practise nurse expertly administered the jab. I was glad to receive the jab. Not just for my own health, but to protect the health of those I would visit in hospital or palliative care.
This Father’s Day I give thanks for my dad, and for scientists like him. And if you haven’t yet been vaccinated against Covid, please get vaccinated. As my dad told me: ‘You’ve got to have it. Not just for you, but for the kids’.