Freedom from cooties!

By Nancy Black

I finally did it. And it was great. I’ll do it again soon, too. For the first time in more than a year, I flew in an airplane! 

My heartstrings were pulling a week ago after a phone call with my son, who is in the Navy. He ended the call by joking, “You’re coming to visit me this weekend, right?” We both laughed, knowing that a quick trip to Annapolis, Maryland was not in the cards for me. Or was it? Why shouldn’t I go? I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I didn’t have any plans for the coming weekend. And I really missed my son. 

So, after the call, I decided to Google cheap flights to Washington/Baltimore. Within seconds, I found one for $200 round trip! That is a deal I could not pass up.

Then the universe really started working in my favor. An old friend of mine who lives in Maryland offered me a place to stay and a car to use. I arrived early enough to spend some time visiting my old pal at his gorgeous lake house before heading to the “Yard.” That’s Navy speak for the campus of the Naval Academy.

It sure was cool seeing all those midshipmen and women walking around in their dress blues. Everything was so official. Everyone had a purpose. And everyone was wearing a mask.

My son and I headed to Washington, D.C. for the weekend to take in the sights. We ate steaks at a fancy restaurant and took a nighttime tour of all the national monuments in the pouring rain. The next day, we rented bikes and rode them around the National Mall. We had a blast, but the best part of the trip was the hugging. I got to hug my friend, I got to hug my son, I got to feel another person! 

I’ve always known hugs felt good but, after a year of getting few, now they feel GREAT! And it is all because I (and the people I hugged!) got vaccinated against the coronavirus. COVID-19 is real and deadly. More than 32 million people in the United States alone have contracted the disease and more than 577,000 people in the U.S. have died from this deadly virus. And many more are suffering long term effects from having had it. There is no cure yet. But there is prevention in the form of the current vaccines available. 

COVID-19 vaccines are free, and most people experience very few side effects (I had a sore arm for about a day). The shots are available at most large pharmacies now and through most city or county health departments. 

Doctors and front-line health care workers are expressing concern, though, about the downtick of people signing up to get vaccinated. It seems many of those who wanted a vaccine have it now, and many of the remainder are hesitant or resistant. Some states are even offering incentives to their residents to get vaccinated.

Whatever your reasoning for waiting, if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please do so ASAP. Without reaching herd immunity in our population against COVID-19, we’ll be dealing with this virus for even longer. If you’re sick of hearing about COVID-19, the global pandemic and all the excruciating deaths that follow, then do something to stop it. Get your COVID-19 vaccination today.

Dot. Dot. Dot. Now you’ve had your cooties shot!

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