Throughout the ongoing global pandemic, there have been many opinions and skeptics. Few doubt the seriousness of the situation, but there are definite opinions about the response to the outbreak. Those opinions are irrelevant on the issue of becoming vaccinated against COVID-19. It is simply the right thing to do.
I was reminded of this issue last week watching a classic episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.” In this particular episode, a local hillbilly eventually received his tetanus shot but not until after loud protests, gun fire and refusals. He finally realized it was the right thing to do and rolled up his sleeve to receive his shot, worried about his next generation.
If only modern people, especially those all around us, would realize this in relation to COVID-19.
It is time to be blunt. Harnett County is one of the worst in the state when it comes to the number of people who have received full vaccinations.
As of Sunday, only 28 percent of the population of Harnett is fully vaccinated according to state statistics. An additional 3 percent have received a first shot, now waiting on a second. One would assume most of them will get that second shot.
The fact the number of people vaccinated is even that high is likely because of a Herculean effort on the part of Harnett Health to vaccinate the local public. Those who worked the clinics reported large numbers of people who came here for their shot because of the efficiency of the operation. I know from personal experience it was a well-oiled machine.
The fine leaders of our local health organization prevented the situation from being worse than it is. Access to the shot has not been an issue here. Thank you, Harnett Health.
Failure to get vaccinated is not exclusively a Harnett County problem. Approximately 46 percent of the population throughout North Carolina are fully vaccinated. That is also unacceptably low.
There is not enough space here to express why these low numbers are disturbing. At a personal level, those of us vaccinated have a much higher percentage of recovery if we contract the COVID-19 virus. More than 90 percent of deaths related to the disease are now people who did not receive a vaccination. It is a fact that those not vaccinated are at a much higher risk of serious illness and death.
As a society, each person not vaccinated is a weak link in the chain of disease prevention. Each one without a shot represents a slight flicker of light for a disease that is slowly dying off.
Yet people still protest. They proclaim an over-reaching arm of Big Brother is their reason for not being vaccinated. They claim the violation of individual rights by an oppressive government. They have used social media as their medium of choice to express these opinions in many cases.
This is not an effort to condemn those who make the choice of not being vaccinated. It is a personal choice and I am not a judge. It is instead an effort to convince someone on the edge of making the vaccination decision.
If one person reads these words and makes the decision to roll up their sleeves to receive a vaccination my efforts were not wasted. It is not a political question as some have tried to make it. It is a medical question backed up by medical fact. Let’s hope more people realize that and do the right thing.
Tom Woerner is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of the Harnett County News. Reach him at email@example.com.