Last week something happened that qualifies as a personal milestone.

I received my second of two COVID vaccine doses. That means I now have some built-in protection against one of the worst pandemics in history.

It also means that I’m doing what I can, in a small way, to bring the world closer to an overall immunity factor. As the doses add up, we start to reach a point when the risk of infection becomes much more limited.

I trust Dr. Fauci and our other foremost scientists. I trust leaders from all walks of life and all political persuasions who favor getting the vaccine.

I can’t think of any valid reason at this point to not get vaccinated. Several reasons I’ve heard mentioned are the need to work, the possibility of serious side affects, and the idea that COVID is not a serious threat to younger people.

The work issue should be something employers and employees can resolve. It’s in the best interest of all employers if employees get the vaccine. They’ll improve their prospects for staying healthy and help to prevent new cases.

The possibility of side effects has been studied carefully. An entire year of our lives was seriously impacted by the need to take time for clinical trials. Even so, it was a real scientific achievement to complete all of the trials in such a short time frame, to meet all of the guidelines without cutting any corners.

The temporary Johnson and Johnson stoppage this month didn’t shake my confidence in overall vaccine reliability. I received one of the others, but I would gladly have taken J&J if it had been the first one offered to me.

The last item on my list is probably the most serious misconception of all. We had a tragedy a week ago as it was reported that a Park Side Elementary first grader from Marshall died of COVID complications.

The only good which might come out of that situation is that it’s exploded two very powerful myths. One is the myth that young people never get seriously ill from COVID. The other is the myth that COVID is coming under control, that there’s little risk of catching it anymore..

We still have a long way to go before we can consider the COVID pandemic over.

I found out this week that Marshall won’t have its summer band concerts at the Liberty Park Bandshell in 2021 because band members would have had to meet guidelines to stay six feet apart. There’s no immediate end in sight to masks or social distancing.

Meanwhile, however, I’m very encouraged by news reports that show vaccine numbers continuing to climb. We’re almost to the point that anybody who wants a vaccine can get an appointment just by calling a local hospital or pharmacy.

The vaccine count is a great contrast to the death count that was reported on a daily basis in 2020. I almost felt the national media was doing too much by having a daily running total of deaths.

There was nothing anyone could do about it. One update a week would have been less depressing, but probably not as fully informative. With the vaccines, I keep being happy that the number continues to climb.

Booster shots will probably be needed every year for the immediate future, much like they’re needed for flu protection. Still, getting a vaccine means having some sense of being able to set the direction of our lives, of not having to worry about randomly catching a life threatening disease.

It’s a good feeling!



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