The season’s must-have accessory is making waves on the social (and socially distanced) scene. No, it’s not sweatpants with extra stretchy waistbands. That’s so 2020. It’s a Band-Aid affixed to the upper arm with all the panache of a beret tipped just so. One newly vaccinated Hancock County resident emerged from the Cross Center Insurance Center in Bangor last week sporting a Bugs Bunny bandage. Très chic.
Fun aside, we are thrilled to join all other Maine adults now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19. It’s been a long, hard road to get here, and the journey is far from done. It will be some time before every resident who wants a vaccine is able to get one. Longer still to convince those who are reluctant or who just want to wait and see how things go.
Shaming or stigmatizing people who have doubts or are opposed to vaccination is counterproductive. There are plenty of eager recipients waiting to snag an appointment right now. They lead by example. Watching friends and neighbors be safely vaccinated and go on with their lives is the best marketing imaginable. A return to normal hinges on normalizing vaccines.
As of April 7, more than 83 percent of the Hancock County population over the age of 70 had received their first shot and 78 percent were fully vaccinated. Nearly 46 percent of eligible Hancock County residents had received at least their first dose. And that was the on the first day Maine opened up appointments to those under 50. The number will only climb. As Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, observed, “What we’re really seeing overwhelmingly across the state remains urgency, not hesitancy.” Yahoo! We’re feeling pretty urgent ourselves.
After a year of defense, we are ready to play some offense when it comes to this virus. It feels great to do something.
The vaccines currently being distributed in the U.S. have been shown to be highly effective at protecting against symptomatic and severe cases of COVID-19. There is mounting evidence that fully vaccinated people may be less likely to spread the virus. It’s a way to protect ourselves and others. A civic duty that stings far less than, say, paying taxes.
Post-vaccination, many people have snapped photos of themselves flexing their inoculated biceps. Rosie the Riveters for the modern age. Back in World War II, Rosie told Americans, “We can do it.” We can do this. Time to roll up our sleeves.