The global pandemic of 2020 has been challenging in many ways. As world, community and health organizations struggle to collaborate on strategies and to provide supplies and direction to citizens, each resident, refugee, adult, child, teacher, essential worker, healthcare provider, business owner, employee, neighbor and parent must make an individual decision about personal and family safety.
As we celebrate the arrival of vaccines around the world, our excitement is tempered by the knowledge that with more than six billion people on this planet, it will take a year or more (depending on the nation) to vaccinate enough people to achieve ‘herd immunity’.
The vaccine represents a ray of hope in what has been a difficult time!
While it is tempting to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, it is important to recognize that we are not there yet and that those who are vaccinated can create super-spreader events in their communities if they do not continue to follow simple mask and social distancing guidelines.
The available vaccines are demonstrating a high percentage of effectiveness and will help those who receive it to avoid getting the virus but world health officials caution that getting the vaccine does not prevent a person from spreading the virus. It is possible to have and spread the virus even though the vaccine is protecting you from the effects of COVID-19.
As the vaccine is distributed among the population, the most dangerous misconceptions relate to the need for continued caution, mask wearing and social distancing.
Those who receive the vaccine and choose to ignore their responsibility to others in their community can, and probably will, represent the greatest threat and create the great probability of a super spreader event.
While it is true that it can, at times, seem as if we have endured these virus restrictions forever, and that we are at the end of the line for a vaccine, we CAN do this. We can be strong a bit longer, we can be logical and follow the guidelines of healthcare experts to keep ourselves and our fellow humans safe and well.
So, get your vaccine, mask up and keep your distance! Be a good neighbor! Be a good friend, son, daughter, husband, wife, employer, citizen, team member…be vigilant and be well, and we will welcome 2022 together!