Pennsylvania has already made good progress in getting young children vaccinated against COVID-19.

We hope the train keeps on rolling, like it did for the older children age range. As of Nov. 12, 27,333 children ages 5-9 in Pennsylvania were partially vaccinated and 83 were already fully vaccinated.

If the 10-14 age group is any indication, both numbers will continue to grow. As of Nov. 12, 166,671 children ages 10-14 in the state were fully covered by the vaccine and 36,401 were partially covered.

“The number of appointments made for children in this age range so far has exceeded our expectations,” said Joe Stender media relations specialist, Geisinger, which systemwide administered the vaccine to nearly 1,000 children within a week of its approval for the younger age group and had scheduled at least 1,200 more.

These early numbers are good. They are significant.

Masks and vaccines have been proven the most effective ways of preventing the spread of the virus.

The path to not having to wear masks in the future and to getting less frequent booster shots — like we have done for influenza, tetanus and other illnesses for long before this new pandemic — is wearing masks now and getting as many people vaccinated as are eligible.

To schedule a vaccine appointment at Geisinger, use MyGeisinger at www.geisinger.org/mygeisinger, or call 570-284-3657. At Evangelical, complete a vaccine request form at www. evanhospital.com/virus or call 570-522-4530, option 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It seems every time we see a dip — on Monday, the state reported its fourth consecutive day with a decrease in new infections — we find another roller coaster hill. On Tuesday, the state reported 5,778 new infections, hospitalizations climbed back to mid-October levels and 72 more Pennsylvanians died from COVID-19 complications. On Wednesday the numbers were 6,024 cases and 3,016 hospitalizations.

November 2021 is already the 7th-most infectious month of the now 21-month pandemic in Pennsylvania and the 8th-most deadly month, just 17 days in.

In the Susquehanna Valley, 370 of our neighbors, brothers, aunts, uncles and grandfathers have died of COVID-19 in 2021 — more than the 336 who died in 2020.

Vigilance is critical — especially as the weather gets cold, we stay inside and spend holidays with family and friends or shopping for those family and friends.

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public in counties with high or substantial spread of COVID-19. To be clear, that is every county in Pennsylvania and every county in every state that borders Pennsylvania — Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.

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