I would like to respond to last week’s letter from a writer who doubts the safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. Yes, there is a small, but very vocal group protesting vaccine mandates. Meanwhile, the reality on the ground is that the percentage of Americans who are vaccinated is getting higher and higher. People are getting tired of this pandemic, are realizing that the fear mongering around the vaccine is not based in fact but in politics, and are increasingly deciding to get vaccinated. They want the pandemic over and they realize that the vaccine is the fastest key to a return to normal.

No medical treatment or medication is completely without risk. But what has become an established fact is that nearly all COVID patients who are in the ICUs these days, and nearly all who are dying of COVID-19, are unvaccinated. What more proof do you need that the vaccine is extremely effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID?

Last week’s letter was meant to put fear and distrust in your mind. Do you know what strikes fear in my mind? The FACT that more than 728,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, many of them unnecessarily.

If you are really struggling with deciding whether or not to get the vaccine, please don’t rely on some guy at the bar, or something your neighbor repeated through her cousin, who got it from a talk radio call-in. Don’t rely on me or on any other random person who writes a letter to the editor. Ask an immunologist, a virologist, your family physician or do a survey of several physicians and then make your decision. Or survey them all just like the American Medical Association did. That survey showed that 96% of doctors surveyed have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. If you think you are smarter than people who went to medical school and you decide to go around unvaccinated in crowds during a pandemic, then you can take comfort in knowing that the doctors will be there to take care of you should you end up in their ICU needing a ventilator. Them being there for you will have been made possible due to the science that went behind developing the vaccine and because most doctors base their choices on educating themselves on facts. That’s why almost every one of them is vaccinated.

If you are a gambler and want to take high risk, then go ahead and pass on the vaccine. But the smart money always looks at the odds before rolling the dice. It has been clearly established that the risk of illness and death from COVID-19 is much higher and more dangerous than the possibility of rare side effects from the vaccine. The choice is yours, but don’t forget that the consequences of that choice are also yours. — Cindy Rohde, Zimmerman

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