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Getting vaccinated civic duty

Hope was delivered to all Pennsylvanians who are 16 or older with word that all are eligible as of this past Tuesday to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

We should all embrace this opportunity. A successful vaccination program is essential to our recovery and the renewal of our full and vibrant lives and livelihoods. We must ramp up our vaccine rate.

In Lycoming County, home to 113,299 people, 23,176 were fully vaccinated and 9,609 partially vaccinated as of Thursday, according to the state Department of Health.

Statewide, with a population of 12.78 million people, 2.49 million were fully vaccinated and 4.1 million, partially.

Even though about one-quarter of the population is under the age of 18, according to the Census, these numbers show that we still have a long way to go to reach herd immunity.

Unfortunately, cases have been rising again, including in our region, and there is a reluctance by a number of people to get the vaccine.

Some are concerned about safety. It doesn’t help that safety has caused Pennsylvania and other states to pause the administration of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those who are fearful should consider the statistics. There have been only six cases of the rare type of blood clot reported out of 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses given. This same concern has not appeared with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

In the meantime, the risks that come with contracting the coronavirus are much more dire, and it’s not just death.

Many people who have gotten COVID-19 have continued to suffer from other ailments that persist long after their initial illness. They are called “long haulers.”

Weighing safety and risk, we side with getting vaccinated and encourage every person in our communities to pursue this as a personal mission.

Achieving herd immunity is how we win in the end. We view getting a shot as a form of civic duty.

Think of President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address when he called upon the public to do what is right for the greater good: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

This is what we can do.

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