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Please do your part: Get the vaccine and wear a mask

We’ve said it numerous times before and we’re going to ask our readers and every other citizen in this city and county: If you have not gotten the COVID vaccine, do so. Whether you wear a mask or get vaccinated for COVID-19 is up to you, but we are telling you it is the right thing to do.
Masks should be a temporary measure to rein in this surge. Vaccinations remain the long-term path out of this epidemic.
This week Carter County had four COVID deaths.
Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 in Carter County…Wednesday the number of new cases was 64.
Friday, the Carter County School Bus Department announced it was suspending three school bus routes indefinitely because of the lack of drivers due to COVID.
Ballad Health reported Thursday that there were 201 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 44 of which were on ventilators. Personnel also reported that nearly 90 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.
Yes, you can get COVID after you have had the vaccine. But getting the vaccine just may keep you out of the emergency room and morgue.
A local nurse told this writer about a person who came to the hospital last week because they were struggling to breathe. The patient was eligible for a coronavirus vaccine in February, but didn’t want one. Said they didn’t believe in them.
Their body certainly disagreed.
The person tested positive for COVID-19. Their oxygen level was low. Their lungs sounded wet and sticky. The person was admitted to the hospital.
“It’s really difficult seeing people struggle to breathe,” said the nurse. “It’s double difficult knowing it was likely preventable.”
COVID-19 vaccines work. They save lives.
Inoculations have helped halt deadly outbreaks in long-term care facilities where residents were among the first people inoculated. Local nursing home residents spent most of last year and the first three months of this year locked down because of COVID. They were unable to have visitors. They could not go out — never experienced a summer breeze or felt the sun on their face. They could not have chapel services nor enjoy the normal activities the nursing home offers. They went without a haircut for a year, and most had to eat their meals in their rooms. All, because of COVID.
Except for the youngest among us, all Tennesseans are eligible for COVID shots.
Yet, only 30 percent of Carter Countians have received the vaccine, meaning almost 70 percent of the county’s population is going about their daily business unvaccinated and at a risk of getting COVID. That is not because of a shortage of vaccine or a lack of places to get jabbed. Every eligible Carter Countian who wants a shot can get one, but some apparently aren’t clamoring for one.
If you’re opting to wait and see, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been a hard “no” from the start, what’s your reason? If you can’t answer these questions, maybe, we hope, that you take the time to reconsider.
A vaccine can save your life. It you don’t care about protecting yourself, we want to remind you that the vaccine helps protect loved ones with fragile health and compromised immune systems.
COVID is no respecter of persons. It can be found lurking everywhere you go — at the grocery store, the Wal-Mart, church services, and no doubt it had a seat at Friday night’s ballgame.
We must keep telling those around us that vaccines protecting against COVID-19 are safe, effective, and the best hope of ending this pandemic.
If some people need to continue to deny this nightmare of a pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines, they should do it while getting in line for a COVID vaccination.