As a youngster, acting in community theater, a movie, a few TV commercials and even hosting a kid’s talk show...I thought that later years might take me west to Hollywood. Common sense and realistic appreciation for the limits of my talents brought me to my senses later. And yet, there is the rare and occasional exception when looking left seems right.
The State of California will soon require all state employees and health care workers to be vaccinated against the COVID19 virus or to face regular and indefinitely continuing testing. Following that direction are the state of New York, New York City (which includes its public schools, all under the direction of the Office of Mayor), the U.S. Veterans Administration, and more recently two larger private-sector employers who will be mandating vaccines for their public-facing employees, Walmart, and the Disney Corporation amusement parks.
Though pandemic conditions have been greatly improving on the ground across the nation, the Delta variant and others are surging in multiple locations. In our neighboring state of Florida, new single-day COVID19 positive cases are surpassing the previous highs of winter 2021, and virtually all of the hospitalized and fatal cases are occurring among the unvaccinated. And while originally the most vulnerable may have been the elderly and medically fragile, a majority of current cases are coming to a much younger and generally healthier population. Like it or not, we remain in the midst of a pandemic and public health crisis.
A confusing patchwork of mask mandates is on the rise and return, as mask-wearing and good public hygiene and hand-washing remain part of a solid health system defense, but NOTHING has proved more impactful and effective at beating back this virus than those vaccines. We have already experienced a ‘breakthrough’ COVID case, among a vaccinated member of our family, thankfully a relatively mild case. Earlier and prior to vaccination availability, we nearly lost our mother, COVID19 also got hold of my father, firstborn daughter, and her husband, and at the time their infant twin sons. All have survived, but recovery continues. Mom is again hospitalized and the twins are on their third serious respiratory infection in six months. COVID19, parainfluenza, and now RSV. They have very dutiful and responsible parents and receive regular medical attention...we hope and pray that the damage sustained by their lungs is not significant nor permanent.
Having two daughters educated through and one teaching in our public schools, aged 15 years apart, I remember marveling at the difference in both the number and frequency of required inoculations for children PRIOR to registering and matriculating in a public school. I support adding the most effective COVID19 vaccine to this roster. Though Operation Warp Speed delivered these products in record time, the RNA research driving their development had been going on for decades in battles to fight the development of a wide array of cancers. NONE of the viruses approved for use in the United State utilize any live-strain of the virus within the vaccine, so these vaccines, among many myths and enchantment tales in circulation, CANNOT GIVE YOU COVID.
So for my many Libertarian and more conservative friends who think I may have ‘lost it’ in recent years, the West Coast still remains the Left Coast for me, but on occasion, they do get things right. As millions of school children return to classrooms across the nation, I’m hoping that my younger daughter will soon be able to see her own classmates smile, without having to look for crinkling eyes above the mask line. But those choices being made for school children in the coming days and weeks will largely be driven by how many of us still sitting around unvaccinated and on the sidelines are now finally willing to roll up our sleeves.
Ready for the shelling and “personal liberty” infringement shouts from my more conservative and anti-vaxx associates, in part because I know that I already took my shot for them and already plan to do so again as soon as the boosters are available. As a result, I hopefully will never be in the position or risk of later giving someone else this potentially fatal virus. For those still unwilling, the aforementioned employers will offer options for the medically fragile, those already surviving COVID19, and for those objecting for reasons of faith. They may opt for rigorous and weekly COVID19 testing, or for positions allowing work from home or in virtual settings, as those slots remain available. But again, and once more with feeling...Do the Right Thing...go take your shot!!
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