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Looking back over the course of the past two years of our shared history, one thing has become clear. And thing is this: nothing is clear.

Some have come through this pandemic firm in the belief that vaccines and masks would end it. Throughout this entire time these folks have been seeing evidence that supports those beliefs. They know unvaccinated people who've died, and they've seen case numbers drop as mask mandates are enforced.

Others have come through this pandemic firm in that believe that it would run its course and wind down in its own time and that vaccines could have side effects. Throughout this entire time these folks have been seeing evidence that supports their beliefs. They know people who've had nasty vaccine reactions and they've seen COVID cases milder than the sniffles.

Both of groups have lived through the very same global pandemic. Both have both ended up in the same place, here at what we hope is the end of the pandemic, some believing that the vaccines sped this up and others believing that the disease has run its course naturally.

And here's the kicker. Both of those beliefs are true.

The eye-popper

The other day, I donated to a fund-raiser for a local young man who, shortly after his COVID vaccine, developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a known, but very rare side effect of some vaccines, including the Flu shot (1 case per 100,000 shots) and the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine (1 case per 125,000 shots.) GBS can also occur, and far more frequently does so, after a person has had certain viral or bacterial infections. But it is entirely possible his case was a side effect of his vaccine.

It made me think that, in spite of my opinions on the value of vaccines, the people who worry about potential side effects have legitimate and real concerns.

What if...?

Writers like to play the what-if game. What if this happened? What if that happened? It's how we go from a cool idea to an entire novel.