EDITOR: Let's talk about vaccines. Every time I got close to a medical professional when I was in my 30s, they would ask me if I had gotten my flu shot. Having had the flu exactly once in my life, I rarely got the shot. My reply was, "But I never get sick!" The doctor or nurse would roll their eyes and leave the room. It is not until now that public health is the conversation of the day and that the deeper purpose for getting a vaccine comes to light. While it is true that a vaccine will help you from getting sick, most important it may prevent you from getting someone else sick.

Decisions that I make affect others — lots of others. Decisions that you make affect others. This is the reality of our time. There is a deep spiritual meaning to this if we ever give it a chance.

So, let's talk about reality. This COVID virus has an "R-naught" value of around 2.8 — that means if you get the virus you will probably get 2.8 other people sick. And each of those people will get another 2.8 people sick. It doesn't take long for someone with a compromised immune system to get life-threateningly ill. That is a lot to have on your conscience.

In the end, it's not about you! And that is the deeper reason why thinking people get the vaccine. It is less about keeping you healthy and more about stopping the spread to vulnerable people. This is one way that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Curiously enough, you can do both at the same time.

Now if your doctor has advised you not to get the COVID vaccine for medical reasons, follow your doctor's recommendation. But if you can, do! It is because some can't tolerate this immunization that the rest of us should. If enough of us are vaccinated, we can slow the spread to a stopping point. That is how we beat smallpox. That is how we will beat this. So love your neighbor...get the vaccine.

Charles Whiting

Ashland

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