Not vaccinated? It’s your turn now. Please go get your COVID-19 vaccine!

The COVID-19 battle isn’t won anywhere until it’s won everywhere. We can hasten the conclusion of the battle against this virus with one simple move – make an appointment to get vaccinated, and follow through on that appointment (and the next appointment, when and where that’s needed).

Maybe you’ve been waiting to let others at higher risk go first; perhaps you held off to make sure there was enough to go around; or you were uncertain if or when it would be your turn.

The only way to win the battle against this virus and pandemic is to achieve herd immunity, and that happens when around 80% of people are vaccinated — so say the local experts we know and trust, as well as world-renowned scientists and researchers with collective decades of experience studying viruses across the globe.

The time for waiting is over. The vaccinations are free, and they have become fairly simple to acquire. Those fully vaccinated can now be outside without masks, so there’s even more incentive if you have hope for a more normal Summer.

Maybe you are not in a high risk category, but I bet you know someone who is. An immune-compromised friend or family member? An older neighbor or coworker? How about an at-risk coach or teacher?

Do right by all of these populations by joining the effort toward reaching a 80% national vaccination rate and achieving herd immunity.

It has never been simpler to obtain a vaccination — you can now walk in, call ahead, drive through or register online for your vaccination depending on location. So go get your free vaccination now.

There will always be those who refuse; whose mistrust of government and/or science means they will never be vaccinated. That’s why we need you in the 80% — and the time is now.

If you still have questions about whether, when, or how to get a vaccine, contact your local health department or read what the experts have to say in their own words.

They’re all saying, “Go get your COVID-19 vaccination right now.”

The combination of cooperative weather and vaccines has driven down both new cases and positive test rates. For now, the unvaccinated are getting a free ride.

But that can change. COVID-19 has not been fully quashed even in well-vaccinated areas of this nation, and certainly continues to rage in parts of the planet where vaccines are scarcer than in the United States. Allowing the virus to circulate is to allow it to continue to mutate and generate new variants.

Now, as businesses in the U.S. beckon employees back to the office, colleges prepare for the return of students in the Fall, and stadiums, arenas and concert halls open, vaccine resistance is colliding with efforts to fully restart the economy. 

While 2020, sadly, was the year of COVID-19, the good news is 2021 should be the year of the Coronavirus vaccine. 

Well before COVID-19, doctors and public health agencies were already trying to overcome an anti-vaccine movement that has dissuaded many parents from getting their children inoculated. 

The movement has had an effect, and it’s not good. In 2000, the World Health Organization declared that measles had been “eliminated” from the United States. But it’s made a comeback. Last year, the CDC reported nearly 1,300 measles cases nationwide, more than triple the number in 2018, and the biggest number since 1992. Most of those infected, it said, had not been vaccinated. Whooping cough, or pertussis, has also rebounded, and up to 20 infants die of it each year.

No one should forget the fearful toll once taken by diseases that have been largely vanquished by vaccines. Before the measles vaccine, upward of three million Americans were infected each year, 48,000 were hospitalized and 400 to 500 of the victims died. Pertussis, which causes severe, prolonged coughing, killed about 9,000 Americans each year.

It took the miracle of vaccines, and their widespread use, to largely remove these and other age-old threats. 

Polio and measles were brought under control. Next up: We can add COVID-19 to that list – if everyone gets their shots as advised.

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