My B cells love extracurricular activities. They are dedicated overachievers, passionate about their jobs. That’s how I think of them when I’m in a magnanimous mood, which makes me feel a little guilty for slaughtering them with rituximab. But I do since the autoantibodies they churn out make me so sick—and the relative absence of my B cells was a fact I didn’t dwell on too much— until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in force.
When I’m not seeing patients in the emergency department, I help train college students to go door-to-door to register people for the coronavirus vaccines, part of a racial justice project to increase vaccine coverage in the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Often I divide them into small groups to role-play conversations with community members. The effectiveness of the vaccines is one of the facts that undecided people find most persuasive, I’ve taught the students.