You may have read the other day that 50 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health.
That’s a lot of vaccinated people — 4,346,446 — according to the state.
So, what about the other half?
Some of them will, I think, probably take the needle plunge in the coming weeks to get us up to 65-70 percent. Many probably won’t.
That continues to be hard for me and others who got vaccinated as soon as they could to understand. After all the good various vaccines have done for us over the years, there seems little reason for hesitancy.
Vaccines have mostly eliminated many of the diseases Americans once faced. Nina Burleigh, author of “Virus: Vaccinations, the C.D.C. and the Hijacking of America’s Response to the Pandemic.” wrote last week in a New York Times essay that “children in the United States are now jabbed with some 15 vaccines that protect against diseases such as hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.”
Americans today, she continued “are among the most medically protected populations in human history.”
But that protection, she added, “has made us both complacent and risk-averse.”
About 30 million American adults — which adds up to about 12 percent of the population — are hesitant to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
There are a myriad of reasons why
Some are resistant to anything new. Some think the vaccines were developed too quickly to be safe. Some say no for political reasons. Some have always opposed vaccinations. Some think that if they already had the virus, they’re protected.
So what’s the answer?
One possibility is a different approach.
In an article on the Cleveland Clinic website, Kathy Barringer, a behavioral health therapist there, said it is normal and perfectly OK to have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vaccine hesitancy shouldn’t be about judgment,” Barringer said “It’s about meeting the person where they are and then reassuring, educating and ultimately helping them get vaccinated. Your goal of speaking to someone about the vaccine isn’t to debate or win an argument.”
That sounds right to me. Debating and arguing aren’t getting us where we need to get.
We won’t convince everyone with that approach. But maybe we can convince enough to make a difference.
Speaking of hesitancy, the CDC’s new guidelines on masking had us all a bit unsure of what to do last week, as various businesses, school districts and even the Dioceses of both Harrisburg and Scranton made various decisions, mostly in favor of lifting restrictions.
It is a bit confusing. Giant and Weis supermarkets, for example, lifted customer mask requirements for the vaccinated in the past week, but still request the unvaccinated and some employees to wear them. My wife and I are fully vaccinated, but still feel more comfortable wearing a mask when we shop at either. So we do.
Some places — I noticed this at All Star Bagels in Lewisburg Friday morning — still have a mask requirement sign prominently displayed.
The best way to approach this, I think, is to follow the signs at whatever business you’re visiting. Wear one if you want to or if you’re not vaccinated or have children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
In our many years taking the family to Ocean City, Maryland, for summer vacation, I recall a lot of business having a sign on the front door that said “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”
I don’t recall anyone ever being offended or fighting that sign.
Email commets to firstname.lastname@example.org.