We are the generation that spent our childhood covered in red spots and eating ice cream due to swollen throats because we did not have vaccines for debilitating and potentially deadly viruses. My brothers and I were lucky that our elementary school was one of the test sites for the new polio vaccine in the mid 1950s.
Vaccines are invented to combat diseases that have no known or reliable treatments. That is why the smallpox epidemics, the 1917-1918 flu pandemic, were so deadly. As of now, nearly half a million Americans have died of Covid-19.
I know many people do not believe in vaccines and feel that they are harmful and cause future medical problems. These are extremely rare events and scientific research has proven that there is no linkage between vaccines and other medical conditions. Whether to vaccinate or not is a personal choice.
If you choose not to get the Covid-19 vaccine, consider these two things:
• The US now has recorded three new mutant strains of the original Covid-19 virus that are much more contagious and deadly than the original one. Two of these strains are currently present and active in Florida and South Carolina and one has been found in Mecklenburg County, N.C.
• The ripple effect, meaning that an unvaccinated person puts the entire community at risk. I was a nurse practitioner student at a county clinic outside of Houston, Texas, in the early 1990s when we experienced a measles epidemic. Businesses and schools had to close, over 100 people were hospitalized, nine people died, five were children. The consequences of going unvaccinated are not limited just to you.
I look forward to receiving my second Covid-19 shot because I would rather be safe than sorry. I also choose to protect my loved ones, my friends, and my community. The good news for us is that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine will be protective against the new strains. We live in a county that has put forth a tremendous effort to vaccinate everyone in a timely manner. Thank you again for all that you do.
Janet Banks, PhD, PNP