“Are you ready?” pharmacist Mitchel Zaretsky asked.
“Go for it,” said Kelley Dixon, right before he became the first Hebrew Home at Riverdale resident to get the coronavirus vaccine.
That was more than nine months ago with the hopes that by the end of 2021, COVID-19 would be nothing more than a painful part of our history.
Instead, hospitals in many parts of the country are turning people away. Not because doctors and nurses don’t want to help them, but simply because they can’t. ICUs are completely filled with COVID-19 patients in what’s been dubbed the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
While New York is among the top tier when it comes to vaccination rates, we still have a ways to go. COVID-19 still very much exists here, and as long as it does, everyone is at risk — even those who have had the shot.
When we look closely at vaccination numbers, what we find is rather surprising. A study last August conducted by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern and Rutgers universities revealed that more than a quarter of health care workers have yet to be vaccinated.
Closer to home, unions have claimed a vast majority of teachers are vaccinated, but news outlets like The City warned as many as 10,000 teachers across the five boroughs could disappear from classrooms before a judge put a temporary hold on a vaccine mandate issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
These are all very educated people, many who have witnessed the devastating effects of COVID-19 firsthand. These are also the very people we look to as leaders, as role models, as the kinds of heroes we should emulate.
We shouldn’t even need a mandate. Health care workers and teachers should have been standing in line even before there was one. The vaccine is safe. It’s effective. And it’s our one true path out of this pandemic anytime soon.
Kelley Dixon rolled up his sleeve when there was still room to question it. But 390 million doses later, no questions remain. No more waiting. Just go for it.