We are finally vaccinating ourselves against a horrible threat to health and well-being

PUTNEY — I am proud to have been among the first 10 Brattleboro area health care workers and first responders to receive the COVID-19 vaccination administered at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on Dec. 16.

I'm so happy to report that it was less painful than the jab of a flu shot, and oh, what a relief this jab was.

We're finally on our way to vaccinating one another against this horrible threat to our health and our community's well-being. This has been a devastating time for our country, yet we're only just turning the corner to imagining recovery from our ongoing social and economic nightmare.

Two days after vaccination, I feel fine - not even a sore arm. The process was simple: a scheduled appointment, registration, then an easy and quick vaccination, with a 15-minute monitoring afterward.

While there, in an easy 30 seconds on my smart phone, I signed up for the CDC's V-safe vaccination-safety-reporting app, as can anyone; it'll send any participant a daily inquiry about health consequences or vaccine reaction for the first week, then regularly thereafter.

In that way, we can all provide the CDC with ongoing and reliable safety information about this vaccine, so as to provide real feedback, in contrast to the confusing fog of social media reports.

I hope that all health care workers proceed with this vaccination, then tackle the task of providing the vaccine to all citizens, starting with those age 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions.

I am so grateful for the efforts of those here at BMH who worked very hard to pull this together, especially those supporting the vaccine registration and staffing the clinic. I'm impressed with efforts of those around the U.S. and the world who tackled this never-before-in-our-lifetime medical, scientific, and logistical challenge.

I grieve for this country having witnessed the death of more than 300,000 residents from COVID-19 in the past nine months - that's more than all the U.S. soldiers killed in the four years of World War II, and now more daily U.S. deaths (3,000-plus) than the 2,500 U.S. soldiers who died on D-Day, or the 2,977 deaths on Sept. 11, 2001.

It's remarkable to think of all of the scientific developments over just the last few years and months to make this vaccine safe and available.

As a result of decoding the genetics of the virus, the messenger RNA used in the vaccine was discovered, as was the molecular structure of this brilliantly manufactured vaccine and its little lipid envelope around each fragment of mRNA. The colder-than-arctic shipping mechanism arrived here from Michigan within 24 hours.

I believe we would not have been able to rescue ourselves from this COVID-19 virus 15 years ago.

In short, please get vaccinated against COVID-19; it's easy and safe. Do it for yourself, for your family and your friends, for your community, for health-care workers everywhere. Do it for our shared future. It is both remarkably safe and tremendously effective.

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