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Vaccination decision was not an easy one

By Walter Geiger I rolled up my sleeve and got the first injection of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday. The second booster shot is due in three weeks and I will get it as well. Making the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated was not an easy one. I admit I was initially a COVID contrarian. I was absolutely opposed to shutting down the country and remain so. Joe Biden best think long and hard about instituting a second one. After nearly half the country voted against him, he has no mandate to begin with and will face extreme backlash should he attempt it. At first, I scoffed at masks and seldom wore one unless I was in a place that required one for entry. I got the look so many of us who do (did) not wear masks got from those who did. I did try to maintain my distance from others and I did sanitize my hands often. That has become a habit. I started writing about COVID in February last year. In late March, I started compiling stats for the COVID-19 Monitor on barnesville.com. I thought that chore would last a month or two and the virus would die out. I was wrong. People, lots of them, have died out instead. In the first detailed post on the Monitor, Lamar had three cases and no deaths while Pike had no cases and no deaths. Statewide there were 1387 cases and 47 deaths. Sunday afternoon those numbers were Lamar 952 cases and 28 deaths and Pike 744 cases and 15 deaths. Statewide the numbers were 636,373 cases and 10,282 deaths. Over the past two months COVID has spread rapidly. On Nov. 10, Lamar had 462 cases and 21 deaths while Pike had 408 cases and 12 deaths. So, our area has recorded 826 new cases over the past 60 days. These spiking numbers got my attention. I started wearing my mask more and started debating getting the vaccine when it became available. On Dec. 15, District 4 public health epidemiologist Alex Wood spoke to the Barnesville Rotary Club. For the first time, I heard straight talk about coronavirus and the vaccine from a trained, reliable source. Wood told us that she, too, was skeptical about the vaccine until three weeks earlier. ‘I did a lot of research on it. That’s what I have trained in. Now, I am confident and will be vaccinated when it is available,’ Wood added. Then, on Dec. 21, I watched as the fine folks at the Lamar County Health Department thawed the vaccine (the Pfizer vaccine is kept at 73 degrees below zero prior to use), reconstituted it and then administered the first vaccinations done there. The administrators and nurses, who have seen this virus and its ugly consequences up close and personal, were absolutely giddy to finally have a weapon they could fight back with. Indeed, the folks at the health department are doing the Lord’s work. That made up my mind and Monday I got my first shot. It did not hurt at all. Through these long months as COVID has ravaged the world, I managed to not contract it and now I feel better about my chances of keeping it that way. I will keep you updated, especially if my inoculated arm falls off. In the meantime, if you need to find me, call Bill Gates.

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