Garrison: The queen, the pope and Vail’s royal treatment |

Garrison: The queen, the pope and Vail’s royal treatment

Ralf Garrison
My View

Sounds like this might be a tee-up for the start of a joke, right? Let me explain.

On Thursday, I got my second COVID vaccine shot, and my CDC Vaccine Record card, and left feeling like I just received a “Get Out of Jail Free“ card. And while there is concern about side effects, I had two: some mild smugness for being an early adopter; and an immediate sense of euphoria about opportunities forthcoming.

A 70-plus Baby Boomer, the vaccine roll-out protocol was in my favor and I lucked into one of the first available appointments in Denver, through SCL Health, my primary care provider. And with all the news about others struggling to manage the vaccine process, I have reason to feel fortunate.

But it was not until I learned from Bill Wildberger, a part-time Vail resident and long-time industry veteran — who pointed out that both the queen of England and the pope got their vaccines in January about the same time as me. So, maybe I’m not just fortunate, but also privileged, even blessed, right?

It turns out that I am not alone; in fact, more than a few of my mountain town colleagues, especially in the Vail/Eagle County region, have successfully negotiated the COVID vaccine maze.

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As a long-time industry analyst and recent founder of Insights Collective, a pandemic economy think tank, I’ve been tracking both the pandemic and its economic consequences for about a year now. So I couldn’t help but dig a bit further and it looks like credit goes to Vail Health and Eagle County, doubtless in concert with many others less apparent. Good on ya!

While the immediate beneficiaries are the health and well-being of the local residents, we now know for certain that economic recovery follows closely and in direct proportion, thus a rising economic tide for the valley economy. Additionally prospective destination guests will likely feel more comfortable planning their vacations to the safest venues, as will part time homeowners, who aspire for the mountain lifestyle without foregoing the limited medical support services found in many rural resort towns. And with pent up demand and newly empowered Boomers like me on the horizon, opportunities abound for those resort communities that have their act together and lead the forthcoming race toward herd immunity resort bubbles.

So, it turns out I have nothing on the good residents of Vail/Eagle County, as we all join the pope and queen with exceptional treatment from those upon whom we depend for our health and well-being.

As for the “royal treatment,” while we’re hearing stories about vaccine lines that are hours long, causing people to camp out in line for hours at a time in other parts of the county, I’m told that Vail Health provides a soothing and calming live piano backdrop for those they are shepherding through the process.

Wait until the queen hears about that!

Ralf Garrison is long-time tourism industry economics analyst and recent founder of The Insights Collective, a pandemic economy think tank. He will be sharing his own experiences and the tribal knowledge of his peers in the post-vaccine discovery process. To be included, send an email to with subject line TELL ME TOO.

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