In April, more than three months before any coronavirus vaccine would enter large clinical trials, the mayor of a picturesque island town in the Pacific Northwest invited a microbiologist friend to vaccinate him.
The exchange occurred on the mayor’s Facebook page, to the horror of several Friday Harbor residents following it.
“Should I pop up and get your vaccine started?????,” wrote Johnny Stine, who runs North Coast Biologics, a Seattle biotech company with a focus on antibodies. “Don’t worry — I’m immune — I have boosted myself five times with my vaccine.”
“Sounds good,” Farhad Ghatan, the mayor, wrote after a few follow-up questions.
Several residents interjected skepticism in the exchange. They were swatted down by the mayor, who defended his friend of 25 years as a “pharmaceutical scientist on the forefront.” When residents raised additional concerns — about Mr. Stine’s credentials and the unfairness of encouraging him to visit San Juan Island despite travel restrictions — Mr. Stine lobbed back vulgar insults. (The geekiest and least R-rated: “I hope your lung epithelial cells over express ACE2 so you die more expeditiously from nCoV19.”)
Several residents reported all of this to a variety of law enforcement and regulatory agencies.