The Standard Journal

Thoughts on the vaccine

- Alvin Richardson is a resident of Morgan County, Ga., and a columnist for The Morgan County Citizen, a sister paper of The Polk County Standard Journal. Email comments to

Acouple of weeks ago I was thinking about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. I’m sure many of you were doing the same thing. I thought about the initial shock and horror that turned into outrage for most of us. Then I thought about the unity in our country that followed — a unity that allowed us to move forward collective­ly and say in one voice that these acts will not stand nor will they keep us from being the greatest nation on earth.

Sadly it seems that unity is gone and one of the things that divide us is the debate over vaccinatio­ns for COVID-19, so I thought it was time for me to give my perspectiv­e on the topic.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m probably prejudiced. Because of the medicine I take for a kidney transplant in 1997, my immune system is compromise­d. Furthermor­e because of the success of that transplant and the success of my medicine, I’m pretty much all-in on the merits of medical science. So I’m not completely neutral here — but there are still some things worth discussing.

First of all, I’m not for vaccine mandates. Two reasons.

One is that it shouldn’t have to be mandated in the face of a national crisis that has killed over 660,000 people. For perspectiv­e, there were about 450,000 lives lost in World War II. That makes this pandemic a war of sorts and the United States has a reputation for pulling together in times of war.

The second reason is that I don’t believe in making rules or laws that are essentiall­y unenforcea­ble.

A lot of this debate has raged over political party lines. My idea on that front is that when Donald Trump was president he initiated “Operation Warp Speed,” which was a program designed to cut through much of the bureaucrat­ic red tape to get a vaccine ready as soon as possible.

That he thought this was necessary should speak volumes to those on that side of the aisle who have doubts. No president is going to unleash a vaccine on the voters that is harmful or unnecessar­y. Political suicide is not something they believe in.

Here’s another thought. If you or a loved one has ever been to the doctor or been hospitaliz­ed, you have put the fate of your health in the hands of our medical science community. You likely didn’t ask how long it took to research and bring to fruition the particular therapy or medicine you needed. You simply trusted them to restore your health.

I also hear a great of deal of discussion about “losing freedom” when it comes to things like wearing masks or the vaccine. The first thing that pops into my mind here is stuff like the Patriot Act. This legislatio­n was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and severely curtailed freedom of privacy and freedom from unreasonab­le search and seizure in our country.

Sometimes there are extraordin­ary circumstan­ces that call for extraordin­ary measures and they result in the temporary loss of some freedoms in order to help ensure the safety of our general public. None of our freedoms are absolute. All are restricted in one way or another whether it be speech, press, religion, assembly or any other one.

I’ve been struck by the numbers reported concerning the percentage of unvaccinat­ed people fighting COVID in hospitals. I polled 10 small- and medium-size hospitals from all parts of the state. Though they wouldn’t give me specific numbers, they all said that nearly every one of their COVID patients were indeed unvaccinat­ed. That’s an eye-opener.

Of course there are individual health situations where the vaccine might not be suitable. But after looking at everything I could find I believe that, for the vast majority, the vaccine is a good thing. I really couldn’t find an argument that swayed me in the other direction.

Lastly, I don’t want to give someone else the virus. That’s just me. I think I have some responsibi­lity to look out for my fellow man and do not want to be burdened with the knowledge that I gave it to someone who later died.

If you are earnestly looking for the right thing to do, consult your doctor. Don’t get your informatio­n from a news channel (they all lean one way or the other) and for goodness sakes don’t get it off the internet. Go to the person that you trust your health and life with and see what they say. Then do it.

I know there’s plenty of opinions out there and I’d like to hear what you have to say. I don’t have all the answers.

 ?? ?? Richardson

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