I’m confused and disillusioned. When we were in the throes of the COVID pandemic at the beginning of this year, the talk revolved around when life-saving vaccines would become available for the general public. Thankfully, beginning during the first quarter of this year and continuing through present times, the COVID vaccine is being administered to all who wish to secure it. But unfortunately, in many states across our country, some naysayers refuse to get vaccinated and also refuse to even wear masks when in crowded indoor settings as recommended by the CDC. The excuse given is that they will not be coerced into getting vaccinated because it infringes upon their freedom. The same holds for mask-wearing. For the most part, these are the same individuals who will not have their children over the age of twelve be vaccinated even though the opportunity does exist, leaving their children vulnerable to contracting this disease.
Meanwhile, our new media proclaims the Delta variant’s deadly toll on the unvaccinated population, especially among our younger members and children. Folks, this is not a hoax. To those who say in their defense that children do not seriously become ill from the current variant strain, I say better check the statistics: They do get seriously ill from COVID and sadly, in some cases, do die. Our children depend on us to make the proper choices to safeguard their health and safety. Is that being done?
For some school districts which have begun the new school year, there are news clips of irate parents ripping off the masks of teachers who decided to wear a mask while teaching. In other school districts, children can sit side by side on crowded school buses without wearing masks, let alone being in a classroom of 20 to 30 grade-school-aged children left unprotected. I fear for the safety of my young grandchildren, who may be placed in harm’s way by this thinking.
The COVID vaccine is not 100 percent foolproof; no vaccine is. But it does offer substantial protection against getting seriously ill and dying from COVID. COVID is not like most other diseases that many of us have had to deal with during our lifetimes. It’s not like contracting a case of the flu. COVID has killed more people than all those who fought and died during World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. The Delta variant is much more contagious than its predecessors, and it requires all of us to take a proactive stance. Masks don’t kill; COVID does.
Is the thought that those who are considered our “essential workers” stocking our store shelves, our physicians, nurses, and other members of our health care systems who served and are serving on the frontline of the war against COVID are dispensable? Do we think that they are willing to continue placing their own lives and that of their families at risk because of some poor decisions? Are we willing to have this pandemic just simply continue on and on and on?
Let’s put politics aside. I, for one, am willing to trust what our medical doctors and epidemiologists are telling us. Vaccination helps prevent the spread of this disease; masks, providing they are worn properly, help prevent the spread of this disease. It’s just that simple. I will take life over death any day.
Do what’s right for our country. Do what’s right for your family. Don’t wait for COVID to strike those you love. Follow the science, not those who have not taken the time to find out the real truth. When COVID strikes, it may be too late to say, “I should have gotten vaccinated.” The vaccine is not the enemy. COVID is.
Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient advocate.
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