words Al Woods
It’s hard to imagine a global event that has directly impacted more people than the COVID-19 pandemic. With said pandemic now entering its third year, the responsibility of protecting ourselves, our loved ones and public health as a whole should not be taken lightly – especially with the highly infectious Omicron variant tearing through the country. So, in the interest of keeping yourself, the people around you and your community safe, take care to avoid the following mistakes.
Refusing to Get Vaccinated
Unless you’re dealing with a medical condition that precludes you from vaccination, there’s no good reason to have not yet gotten your vaccine. (Conversely, if you’re someone who does suffer from such a medical condition, it may be a good idea to consider disability insurance.) While a fair number of unvaccinated individuals have avoided vaccines because of dangerous misinformation, others simply can’t be bothered to act in the best interest of public health. In many cases, such individuals have yet to be personally impacted by COVID-19 and therefore believe that it isn’t a big deal. A lack of personal fear towards the novel coronavirus is another common reason people give for remaining unvaccinated.
Regardless of how afraid – or unafraid – you are of COVID-19, it’s important to understand that your behavior has a direct impact on the people around you – and indeed, public health as a whole. So, even if you’re not concerned about contracting the novel coronavirus, the people to whom you stand to spread it are liable to feel differently.
Vaccines are safe, effective, widely accessible and available free of charge. As such, no one old enough to get vaccinated who isn’t suffering from a condition that prohibits vaccination should still be walking around unvaccinated. Such behavior flies in the face of public health and can have devastating long-term consequences for you and the people with whom you interact.
Not Getting Your Vaccine Booster
While completing your initial vaccination series is a vital step, you’ll need to get a booster shot to ensure maximum protection. At the present time, people aged 12 and up who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and people aged 18 and up who received the Moderna vax can receive a booster shot at least five months after their initial vaccination series. Furthermore, people aged 18 and up who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine can receive a booster at least two months after their initial shot.
It’s also important to note that the CDC now recommends Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the mRNA vaccines, over the J&J/Janssen vaccine. So, even if you initially received the J&&/Janssen vax, you can get one of the mRNA vaccines as your booster.
Believing That Vaccination Makes You Invincible
To be clear, everyone who is old enough and able to get vaccinated should do so. However, while vaccination will provide you with a very high level of protection against serious and fatal infection, it does not make you completely impervious to COVID-19. As is the case with many vaccines, breakthrough infections are entirely possible, so being vaccinated and boosted doesn’t give you free license to abandon masking, social distancing and other common-sense precautions. It’s also important to remember that vaccinated individuals can act as asymptomatic spreaders, so by continuing to take precautions, you’re potentially saving lives.
Believing You Can’t Get Involved in Charity
Because of the various risks posed by in-person interactions, you may naturally assume that doing charity work at the present time simply isn’t possible. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can give back without placing your health at risk. For example, if you’re looking to help people infected by food insecurity, consider getting involved with a charity like St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.
We’re now entering the third year of one of the biggest public health crises of all time. Although some of us have done a better job of accepting the situation and taking the necessary precautions than others, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone whose life hasn’t been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as much as we’d all like the pandemic to be over, new COVID variants coupled with millions of Americans’ refusal to act responsibly have ensured that the novel coronavirus will remain a threat for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, you can minimize your risk of infection and do your part for public health by avoiding the blunders discussed above.