The number of COVID-19 cases has begun to climb again. Hospitals are filling up with sick people. People are dying. The one thing these people have in common? They havenít gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.
I worried about this when the mask mandate was lifted in Arkansas, and again when Walmart announced that you donít have to wear a mask if youíve been vaccinated. It was suddenly a free-for-all. Unvaccinated people could go maskless under the guise of having their vaccination. And they certainly have.
ďOh, how can you possibly know that?Ē Iím sure youíre asking.
Statistically, Arkansas is way behind other states regarding vaccination rates. More than half of Arkansans havenít been vaccinated. That means most of those people who arenít wearing a mask in Walmart havenít been vaccinated. Theyíre just lying about it because the store policy gives them that opportunity.
I guess honesty isnít the best policy for everyone.
Then there are other folks who have never worn a mask and will never get vaccinated and scream this from every available rooftop. They are proud to disregard the health of others, as if itís really taking such a big stand to ignore scientific facts.
Some people who became very sick with COVID-19 use that as an excuse to double down on their misguided beliefs. They say theyíve got the antibodies now, though thatís not nearly enough to protect them from getting the virus again. They say they survived the virus once ó thereís nothing to worry about, you see?
The thing is ó and people who have had the virus should know this ó how you react to the virus is impossible to know until you have it. Gideon got the virus and felt extremely ill. He nearly went to the emergency room the first night. I had mild symptoms and no problem breathing. If we got the virus again, it would be another roll of the dice. Thatís why we both got vaccinated as soon as possible.
Well, thatís not the only reason we got vaccinated. We realize that protecting ourselves from the virus protects everyone around us. We are fortunate that our coworkers agree ó statistically, our workplaces have fantastic vaccination rates. We understand we are all in this together. That means getting a shot or two in the arm and dealing with the side effects.
For the record, I had minimal side effects with the first shot and none with the second. Gideonís experience was similar. Some of our coworkers didnít have any symptoms at all, while others had to take a day to recover. Either circumstance is a heck of a lot better than getting sick or sharing the virus with someone who canít recover from it.
Iíd get the vaccine all over again if I had to ó and again and again and again. For me, itís all about preserving our community. Some of you see it as a freedom of choice. Yes, we are free to make many decisions in America. Getting vaccinated is one decision I never had to make. It wasnít even a choice.
I signed up as soon as I could, because I want to contribute to my community in a meaningful way and I knew getting vaccinated was the only way. Do you want to protect your neighbors?
Then get vaccinated. And if you canít, please wear a mask!