There are few occasions when Americans are called upon to put their personal rights and freedoms aside so that the nation that we so dearly love can travel the path to social and economic triumph.
In the last 18 months, we have experienced an act of grace by our creator. Blessed by wisdom and financial resources, we have enabled vaccine manufacturers to boost output of a safe and viable, not perfect, solution in our struggle to overcome the challenges forced upon us by an extremely aggressive virus.
Coordinated by our county health department, through the use of taxpayer dollars, we have established and conducted a comprehensive vaccine program at no additional cost to anyone and everyone living in Lewis County regardless of age, race, color, gender or country of origin.
Recently, there have been protests and suspicions voiced by individuals and groups against vaccine mandates. However, we continue to experience continuous wave after wave of new infections and deaths because of the reluctance and behavior of these same individuals and groups.
At the initial outbreak of this virus, there was no vaccine; specific industries were required to maintain operations. Health care services, public safety organizations, grocery stores and gasoline stations stepped up and enabled us to survive during a long period of isolation. Life was anything but normal and they accomplished this task at great personal risk.
Today, those same groups are being asked, once again, to step up and receive a mandatory vaccine.
This is necessary to ensure both individual and public health and safety. Though there are valid reasons, such as health-related challenges and religious beliefs, to decline the vaccination, there is the will of public services and of businesses to survive economically and to provide services to our communities.
All Americans are entitled to their opinions regarding mandatory vaccinations but not to their own facts. Personally, I don't know of a single politician or newscaster or entertainer that is an expert on pandemic-level viruses. Science (theory proven by a current set of facts) evolves and changes each and every day.
As a nation, we have established a network of experts and administrators who serve us and make the best decisions to our mutual benefit. Yes, it is frustrating that one day “this current advice” is announced and several days later it changes. That is science.
But if you take the time to notice, it always serves to benefit us in some manner. We have made a great deal of progress in our struggle against this virus. Now is the time to hold hard to those gains and welcome those still reluctant into our vaccination program.
None of us have the ability to see into the future. We don't know if we will yet survive the effects of this pandemic. We do know that it has no respect for age, race, gender, national origin or personal belief.
A great nation is only a great nation when personal rights and freedoms are put aside during times of threat to that nation.