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COVID vaccine likened to a seatbelt by writer

To the Editor:
THIS IS a matter of life and death, but people here don’t seem to recognize that. I‘m reminded of the case of the woman driving with her five kids in the car, when a boulder fell onto the road in front of her. She hit the rock and her van bounced into the cliff. Her airbag must have been faulty (she had no way of knowing) because it didn’t go off. She was gravely injured, but survived because she had her seatbelt on. Unfortunately, her baby boy had gotten out of his seatbelt and was attempting to trade seats with his brother when the accident happened, and he was killed instantly. The mother was inconsolable, because she thought she had done everything she could to protect her children. They were young, healthy, energetic and well loved. She had tried telling him to keep his seatbelt on, but he was only four years old and thought he was a superhero. Superheroes don’t need seatbelts! His mom had tried stopping the car every time he was out of his seatbelt, but to him it was a game and he just wouldn’t comply. At four years old he just didn’t understand the consequences. His mother buried him in a superhero suit, but it couldn’t make him invincible. He was still dead, and she was so distraught she slept with him in the cemetery at night. The other children were injured, but received treatment and recovered fine. Because of their seatbelts they had survived.
The COVID vaccine is much like the seatbelt. It can’t prevent accidents, and it is possible for breakthrough cases to occur. Vaccines are still 90% effective. But if you also wear a mask, that’s like having the airbag going off first and protecting you from exposure. Masks are not 100% effective either, but by utilizing all of our defenses we can at least prevent getting so sick that we end up in the hospital or worse. At this time in the course of the pandemic, one out of every three people infected are hospitalized. That’s just in Tennessee, where the cases aren’t too bad yet. Surprisingly, even those who have minor or no symptoms are having serious after effects, like blood clots. So if you want to live, do yourself a favor and protect yourself and those you love by making sure everyone over the age of 12 is vaccinated. Then protect your family even further when you leave home by wearing masks around others when you’re unsure of their vaccine status. This new COVID variant is one thousand times more contagious than the last one. Be smart, be safe, and sleep more soundly knowing you have done everything you possibly can to protect those you love. We don’t need any more people sleeping in cemeteries, and we shouldn’t be thinking like a four-year-old child. None of us is so special that we don’t need to take preventive measures. For most of us, putting on our seatbelt is something we always do, like putting on a shirt. COVID protection should be the same. Did you put on your seatbelt the last time you drove into town?

Barbara Murphy
Watauga