I.C. MURRELL — Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine?
Maybe my mother was (and still is) sort of a health nut — she still teaches home economics and family dynamics at my high school alma mater — but not taking a vaccine was never an option in the Murrell household.
Not once have I ever heard my mom complain about the possible side effects of any vaccine, so I had no reason to ever think about it (outside of the painful poking). Of course, there was the one time I became sick within two weeks of taking a flu shot, but who’s to say I wouldn’t have had it worse without it?
Ever heard of meningitis?
It’s defined by the Mayo Clinic as inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes, typically caused by an infection. Symptoms include headache, fever and stiff neck, but it’s reported fewer than 200,000 U.S. cases exist per year.
When I started college 22 years ago, state law required new enrollees to send proof of meningitis vaccination to their college registrar’s offices. The darn shot cost $98, and it was the first time I even heard of meningitis.
(And the whole goal at the time was to limit application fees, LOL.)
Knock on wood, but influenza has stricken me only twice in the last 10 years, last in 2017. The last time I’ve been sick of anything was New Year’s Day 2019.
If annual visits to the pharmacy have limited sickness, give Ms. Murrell credit for instilling a strong belief system of vaccination in her son.
Because of that, when the coronavirus vaccine makes its grand entrance in Texas, I’ll gladly stand in line for it.
Some not so much. Therein lies a dilemma, maybe.
“In general, the people I communicate with, I ask how they feel about it,” Port Arthur Health Department Director Judith Smith said earlier this week. “Would they take it? The majority have told me, ‘No’ or ‘I’m not sure.’ We have to see how many people do well with it.”
For the record, a candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine proved 90 percent efficient, Pfizer and BioNTech reported, at a time when COVID-19 is soaring in new daily cases in America. It’s not a good look in Texas, either, as we surpassed 12,000 single-day cases for the second time since July 16 — oh, let’s just say, Wednesday. (Texas hit 22,276 on Sept. 21.)
Whether that’s enough to convince others to give the vaccine a shot — pardon the pun — who knows? If a cure for coronavirus came in a pill, would you take it?
In a society where wearing a mask and social distancing requires great self-discipline we don’t always exercise, the chance to put an end to a months-long pandemic should be welcome news.
Everyone’s health is different, I get it, but if we can play a part to defeat the most evil invisible enemy threatening America, why not jump on board? Faith is invisible, too, but it’s a mighty substance.
Really, what’s there to fear about it when coronavirus has wrecked 10.5 million lives in the U.S. (and claimed 242,000 of them)? In our four-city area, 41 deaths have been related to COVID-19.
When disaster hits, we respond, right? Do we not owe it to those not with us anymore to see if we’ve found a cure?
Port Arthur’s health leader would, in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine, that is.
“Absolutely,” Smith said. “I would take it if I know it’s beneficial.”
Then again, it’s a personal decision for everyone.
“Do the benefits outweigh the risk?” Smith added. “We don’t know, but how did they know when they came up with childhood vaccines? I understand people’s fears because it’s so new. I take it by faith.”
As for me (and my mother, I’m sure), we’ll do the same. I’ve been stuck with a needle all these years; why stop now?
Until that great vaccine day comes, we have masks as our best defense.
We shall maintain self-discipline and breathe free from COVID-19’s threat one day very soon.
I.C. Murrell is the editor of Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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