Under normal circumstances, I avoid publicly addressing controversial issues and accept that everyone is entitled to their opinions on such matters. However, when it comes to the vaccine, I am compelled, for many reasons, to share my “opinion”.
Who would have thought back on March 15th that COVID would still be dramatically affecting our lives? This pandemic has been tragic for many reasons. The over one half a million deaths and the extended family of each affected requires our heartfelt sympathy. Yet, it goes far beyond that.
Not to be overlooked are the economic tragedies, which COVID has created. There have been countless small businesses, the heart and soul of America, that have forever closed their doors. Combine that with the millions of employees, who relied on them for income and the tragedy expands.
The devastation to the restaurant industry is well-documented and, though their creative ways to sustain their businesses needs to be applauded, nonetheless, millions have suffered economically because of it.
How can we possibly quantify the developmental affect that COVID has had on the education of our children? The natural development of our children needs a support system that goes beyond the family. With no equivocation, that support system has been fragmented.
Personally, I have a son with special needs, who graduated from High School in 2019. Because he is part of a Life Skills class, he is afforded 3 extra years beyond graduation with his lifelong classmates. Because of his inability to abide by social distancing or wearing a mask, he has not been in school or any other building for that matter, other than home, since March 13th. He loves school but his safety was paramount. At this point, he has lost 1 ½ of the 3 years left on his High School education and he will never get those critical developmental years back.
I could go on and on about how devastating it has been for all of us, yet I am sure I would be preaching to the choir. However, we have all seemingly made the best of it and most I come into contact with these days have maintained a positive attitude. Even my son, though not being able to go to school, has done a stellar job at remaining upbeat.
In my life, I have never received a flu shot and always viewed it as a choice, right or wrong, that only affected me. In the last 20 years, I only had the flu once during a particularly stressful Christmas season and was actually in bed Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after. With a house full of people, no one else contracted it. Though I wasn’t happy about getting the flu, since I affected no one else, I felt justified in my decision.
Yet, the COVID-19 vaccine is completely different! I have received my first dose and am scheduled for my second. In my mind, it goes far beyond personal protection. It is for the protection of those who are closest and dearest to me. I do it for my son, who I hope will be able to attend school for his final year in September and my daughter, who took a year off from college. I am doing it for kids of all ages, who can get back on an appropriate developmental track.
Though I ardently practice social distancing and mask wearing, I am doing it for all of those who I come into contact with regardless of the situation. I am doing it for the millions so adversely affected in a variety of different ways. I am doing it for the restaurant industry so it may more quickly get back to servicing us in the way we have become accustomed to over the years.
I am doing it for all the lives that can be saved. I do it because it will dramatically reduce the severity of the symptoms for those who do get it. I do it so hospitalization related to COVID will practically disappear. I am doing it for the psyche of the country and the world.
I realize millions completely agree with me and I also realize millions are on the fence about getting the vaccine.
I am far from an expert, but the COVID variant concerns create an urgent scenario for getting vaccinated before that variant can get a foothold. In the next month and a half or so, Pfizer and Moderna have promised 3.3 million doses a day. In addition, Johnson and Johnson has just now been approved by the FDA and it will not be long before all will have the opportunity to receive the vaccines.
“An appropriate goal, experts say, is three million shots per day — probably by April. At that pace, half of adults would receive their first shot by April and all adults who wanted a shot could receive one by June, saving thousands of lives and allowing normal life to return by midsummer.” David Leonhart; NY Times
I know many healthcare workers, who have received both vaccines and all those who I am familiar with, the side effects were minimal to nonexistent and all said it is completely worth any short-lived discomfort.
It is my pedestrian opinion, and I stress that it is an opinion, that we all need this vaccine to create a safe environment, both from a physical, as well as a mental one. Godspeed.