Pictured above: Kate Keller volunteers at a recent vaccination clinic held at Martinsville Speedway.
This month marks the first anniversary of when our lives changed. A year ago we went from going about our daily lives without a thought to a world where we reluctantly leave our homes and no longer have guests over. We don’t go anywhere without a mask and feel pretty safe knowing if we need one- there is at least one in the car or at the bottom of your purse. We walk around people and wave hello instead of shaking hands or hugging. We spend our lives in virtual meetings on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We’ve gotten used to only seeing peoples’ heads and occasionally their kids or pets enter the screen. We’ve become much more isolated in our day-to-day activities and each of us is praying for the world to return to normal.
I have no more of a clue of when ‘normal’ will return than you do. But what I do see is change and a light at the end of the tunnel. Our COVID-19 numbers are dropping and recently hit the low positivity rate of last April. That’s due to many things and we need to keep it up. Science is providing us vaccine options that are finally starting to arrive. The launch of the vaccine distribution has been rocky at the national, state and local levels. The lack of a clear plan from the federal government required states and localities to figure it out on their own. They have done so and now the federal government is also helping to coordinate.
However, the greatest challenge with the rollout has been the lack of vaccine shots entering our community. Harvest participates in the West Piedmont Covid Vaccination Task Force and the MHC Vaccine Equity Workgroup. The three-county task force works together to share information and to coordinate large-scale vaccination efforts. The Workgroup brings together a diverse group to identify and implement strategies to reach communities with limited access. These groups have plans and have piloted pods and drive-thru clinics- and we are ready to do more. The flow of shots has been slow. However, we fully expect that the number of doses will continue to increase and as they do, our community is ready to respond.
This is the light at the end of the tunnel. We need to stay vigilant and stay masked. We need to get vaccinated when it’s our turn. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. According to the CDC, these vaccines were tested in tens of thousands of clinical trial participants. These vaccines met all the FDA’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and quality to be approved for emergency use. Our health system is working hard to do its part, so we need to do ours. The end is coming. I’m not sure when, but we will get there together.