And COVID19 Keeps On

Despite reminders to wear a mask, practice safe distancing, staying away from large crowds, washing one’s hands often, getting tested if one has any symptoms etc., the number of cases continues to grow throughout the world as well as here in Ontario.

Thankfully there are vaccine options in the works, but even when one is proven safe and effective, the logistics are many. Issues such as having enough for everyone and having it available within a reasonable time, and getting it safely to the public, are all concerns. The issue of storage and transportation of the vaccine is an important consideration.

Refrigeration was the one drawback of the Salk vaccine for polio, which was pronounced safe and effective in 1955. The Sabin vaccine, however, which became available in 1961 in the U.S., did not need refrigeration.

The Salk vaccine is given by injection, so trained staff are needed, whereas the Sabin vaccine is given orally, so it is cheaper to administer. This being the main reason it came to be the vaccine used in underdeveloped countries of the world. It also replaced the Salk vaccine in the U.S. for about 40 years after it was developed. But the U.S. changed back to using the Salk vaccine and has been doing so since 2000, thinking it is safer than the Sabin vaccine as there is no live virus in the Salk vaccine. Whereas the Sabin vaccine is based on a live, weakened form of the virus, so it has some risk of getting polio. Because of this, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is phasing out using the Sabin vaccine and is now using the Salk vaccine only. But the challenge remains with the fact it needs to be kept at 35-46 degrees Fahrenheit (2-8 degrees Celsius). However, If stored in this way, it can is still effective for four years.

But, the refrigeration issue remains to be a dilemma, so researchers are now experimenting, looking for possible ways to overcome this problem and maybe coming up with a possible solution. This is exciting news.

Today, one of the vaccine choices presently being considered for combating COVID-19 also has this problem of refrigeration and might benefit from these researchers’ findings.


Do What Gives You Joy

Last fall my husband and I went to Halifax so I could participate in the  Word on the Street Book Conference, which was held on the grounds of their beautiful new, ultra-modern library. Those participating in the conference were invited to a wine and cheese event the evening before the actual book sale, so we also got to get a tour of the lovely building.

While in Halifax we also visited the new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. I was thrilled as the Maud Lewis special exhibit was being featured at the time. Although I am not a big fan of folk art, I love the fact that this is what gave Maud joy. She and her husband Everett lived very simply, actually a life of poverty. She had rheumatoid arthritis and at one point it became so debilitating that she had to use one hand to hold the other in order for her to paint. Still, Maud found meaning to life by beautifying anything around her using simple lines and bright colours, depicting rural life in  Digby, Nova Scotia. Even her little house was adorned with her art inside and out and from top to bottom.

Just this morning while at the post office shipping a book order I received, I took notice of the new stamps displayed in front of me. Being curious, I looked more closely as I thought that I recognized the artwork on a couple of the stamps. Sure enough, it was Maud’s distinct artwork. In fact, there are three new stamps depicting different pieces of her art.

A number of years ago, a painting of hers was discovered at the New Hamburg Mennonite thrift shop. An article was written about it in the local newspaper and the piece of art was auctioned off. The painting brought three times its estimated value, Appraised at $16,000, it sold for 445,000. The money to be used by MCC, a Christian group that helps bring relief, helps development, and peace to those places which have been hit by a disaster or where there is unrest.

The movie ‘Maudie’, was made about Maud’s life. as well. So when my sister-in-law who lives in Halifax told us about it, we went to see the movie when it came to our local theatre.

The exhibit about her life was the big draw at the art gallery during our visit so we also took it in while there, Even her little house had been moved and was the focal part of the exhibit. Her numerous pieces of art were displayed on the walls around the exhibit. A video played continually so people could get to know more about her life. Her story continues to be told as her legacy is an important part of the heritage of Nova Scotia.

In these COVID days, maybe there is something you once did that brought you joy and fulfillment that you didn’t have time for in the days before COVID. This just might be the time for you too to find joy in something you had forgotten about that once made you feel happy and alive. We need to look for something these days to be happy about and give us hope for the future. What is your long-forgotten joy?