The Universal Notebook: My New Year’s resolution

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Ordinarily, I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I’m just not that goal-oriented or all that methodical. But for 2022 I decided I had to make one.

Resolved: I will urge everyone I know and love to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

You’d think it would be a no-brainer to get vaccinated, but 1) there seem to be a lot of people out there with no brains, and 2) there seem to be some very intelligent people who are reluctant to get vaccinated.

Edgar Allen BeemGreen Bay Packers quarterback and State Farm pitchman Aaron Rogers, for example, is a Stanford grad and sometime host of “Jeopardy.” He’s no dummy, but it seems he prevaricated about being vaccinated. Rogers repeatedly said he had been “immunized” against COVID-19, but what he meant was that he had taken hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, the drugs of choice for addlepated anti-vaxxers. 

Rogers said he was afraid the coronavirus vaccine might make him sterile. I have heard parents express the fear that the vaccine might compromise their children’s reproductive functions. But then I have also heard people argue that vaccines cause autism and that turns out to be untrue.

Yes, there are a lot of unknowns about the long-term effects of the coronavirus vaccine, but the much more likely short-term effects of not being vaccinated are well known: Sickness, hospitalization, intubation, death.

Unvaccinated people are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people. More than 90 percent of current COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated.

What else do you need to know?

And still, the news is full of people who died unnecessarily because, for whatever reason, they refused to get vaccinated. Our health care system is in crisis because of people who refuse to take care of themselves.

Before Christmas, Dr. Dora Mills, the governor’s sister and an executive with MaineHealth, made an interesting observation about Maine’s sudden COVID-19 surge.

“This is really the story of the two Maines,” Mills told the Maine Sunday Telegram. “If you go to Whole Foods in Portland, everyone is masked and if you go to Hannaford in Farmington almost nobody is, except the employees.”

In the 1st Congressional District, folks get vaccinated and wear masks. In the 2nd District, not so much. And so they die.

One of the most tragic tales of the pandemic is that of the dentist who took his own life after the Maine Dental Association voted him off the board for making it known that the board had voted to support the governor’s vaccination mandate for health care workers. Apparently, the MDA faced a backlash from members who feared they would lose staff if they insisted on vaccinations. So the association made the dentist who had proposed the support the scapegoat. And he killed himself.

Not sure about losing staff, but any practice that does not support a vaccine mandate should lose patients – all of them. No one who has not been vaccinated has any business working in any health care capacity, not as doctors, nurses, dentists, hygienists, or anything else. Get vaccinated or get terminated.

I have heard people seriously propose that the unvaccinated be denied medical care and/or medical insurance. That’s going a little too far, but I do believe that those who have been vaccinated should be allowed to return to a semblance of normalcy (albeit masked) and that those who have not been vaccinated should be banned from public places such as supermarkets, schools, churches, concerts, movie theaters and restaurants.

Bottom line: Please get vaccinated. It’s the right thing to do.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.

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