After a year-and-a-half of COVID-19 controlling and taking away lives, vaccines are the only way to stop this pandemic, prevent more dangerous strains from developing, restore our freedoms and our safety, and return our society to normalcy.
President Joe Biden’s decision to require federal workers, medium and large employers, and health care staff to get vaccinated is an important and needed step in the current fight against the pandemic.
We are in a race against time and must fast-track our efforts to get more people vaccinated. The highly infectious delta variant spreads at an alarming rate, with the potential to soon undermine the effectiveness of the vaccines. Our nation’s intensive care units are filling up with not just the vulnerable, but now the young, the previously healthy, and most concerning our children. Some will die unnecessarily. This additional surge of COVID-19 patients puts an incredible strain on our already wearied doctors, nurses, and front-line workers who are putting themselves and their families’ lives and well-being at risk every day. Overwhelming our health care system with a single preventable illness continues a cycle that is not healthy or sustainable.
The president’s action demonstrates that government alone cannot solve this challenge. We support the engagement of the private sector to play more of a role in helping close the vaccination gap in our communities. In addition to employers covered by the president’s action, leaders of small businesses, health care providers, schools, and colleges must stop the spread of COVID-19 among employees, customers, and students by mandating vaccination. We are all relieved to have schools opening, but to stay open, we need to increase vaccinations to protect those too young to get vaccinated themselves. Much more can and should be done by civic organizations, places of worship, local governments, and others. Families, neighbors, and friends can come together as a community to increase vaccination with encouragement and support.
Throughout all of this, we all need to listen to each other, understand each other’s concerns, and treat each other with humility and respect. The politicization of COVID-19, masks, and vaccines is taking its toll. It is costing jobs, causing businesses to struggle and close again, and taking lives.
Together, we can help put an end to this pandemic and regain freedom from COVID-19. No matter what lies ahead, the more vaccinated we are as a community, a nation, and a globe, the safer we will be from this dangerous virus.