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Peper Column: The second vaccine

Community Immunity

As the present rate of participation, the experts tell us our country will not reach herd immunity. According to recent CDC numbers, 43 percent of the U.S. population has had at least one shot. Approximately 30 percent of us are fully vaccinated. Dreamstime

So I took inventory this week on just how many different columns I have written in the last year where time was spent referencing possible vaccines or receiving a vaccination. By my count, it’s about a dozen or so. The subject runs a close second to the topic of hand-washing or using hand sanitizer. On this Mother’s Day, I believe my mom would be suitably proud of her oldest child for repeated efforts to keep his hands clean.

What I’ve yet to come to grips with, though, are those who just won’t bother or refuse to get even the first injection, much less the second one. Various mass immunization locations are starting to shut down. They’re just not very busy anymore.

Is that because these facilities are no longer needed? Or because a significant number of adults just refuse to take the time or believe they know better than the nation’s best and brightest?

As the present rate of participation, the experts tell us our country will not reach herd immunity. According to recent CDC numbers, 43 percent of the U.S. population has had at least one shot. Approximately 30 percent of us are fully vaccinated.

Have we totally forgotten what we’ve all endured since March 2020? Does American amnesia conveniently erase the sacrifices of not seeing friends and family, along with the loss of jobs by the millions? Have we become so fond of direct deposit of the stimulus checks that we forget altogether that COVID-19 killed about half a million Americans in a little more than a year?

You know what I remember? Schools, bars and restaurants that closed their doors. Sporting events and concerts that were cancelled. And maybe the most sobering recollection of all: refrigerated trucks, parked outside of hospitals, filled with dead bodies.

Reasons and excuses

Different people cite different reasons for feeling they don’t need the protection an injection provides. Some who get the first shot feel that’ll be enough. These same people argue a second shot is just extra and not really needed. I’ve also heard that there’s a fear of side effects, or that they just can’t find the time.

Admittedly, it’s counter-productive when politicians contradict science and pass along medical advice that’s flawed. I wish there was a way we could be inoculated from them.

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President Joe Biden’s latest goal is to fully vaccinate 160 million Americans by July Fourth. There are also conversations about including pre-teens and teenagers soon, then casting the net to toddlers up to 11-year-olds by September.

If certain grown-ups don’t show-up for shots, can we expect their off-spring to understand the need?

We Americans are opinionated, independent and not always comfortable being told what we should do. There also seems, though, an element of stubbornness and arrogance built in that creates know-it-alls who are quite comfortable with their ignorance.

Young people are still being hospitalized with this virus, even though they’re not the most vulnerable. Unvaccinated people can still get infected and spread it to someone who is susceptible.

Virus, vials and victory

Certain states are starting to roll back some restrictions. More and more fans are attending sporting events, and high school proms are being staged with certain protocols in place. We’re hardly back to normal, but it feels like we can see it from here.

Maybe in years to come we’ll witness the next generation of vaccines in the form of a pill or a patch? Needles and syringes will give way to a future dose that’s inhaled through the nose.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting your shot, get with the program. Supplies are increasing, and more convenient locations come on line everyday.

Here’s the latest capitalistic opportunity I’ve yet to see around all this. I saw a vaccine card holder advertised just the other day. It’s a little leather pouch designed to carry the card verifying your vaccination. The name of it? It’s called the "Fauci Ouchie."

I’m OK with the country’s sense of humor returning bit by bit. I just wish more of us would embrace this race with the same resolve. If, in fact, the finish line is visible in the distance, won’t we all be better off if we all keep running as hard as we can until we get there?

Reach Warren Peper at peperwarren@gmail.com

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