On Saturday, May 15 Trustee Austin Knox will be collaborating with HealthVisions Midwest and Anthony Medical Associates to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations at the Wayne Township Trustee office on 320 East Superior Street from 10 AM to 1 PM. At the same event our Clothing Emporium will be handing out free clothing items, and free food pantry items will also be available. Hot dogs and drinks will also be provided for a free lunch.
As more and more people are getting vaccinated—over half of all adults in the United States have now gotten at least their first shot—it’s beginning to feel, at last, like we might be coming back to some sense of normalcy. Just in the last month the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) announced an easing of restrictions on mask wearing. “Whether they are fully vaccinated or not, people do not have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household. They can also go mask-less in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.”
Even though our country has been through a lot in this pandemic, it does seem that our efforts to contain the virus have begun to pay off. You may have noticed that our cold and flu season this last winter was unusually mild. Could it be that all the masking, social distancing, hand-washing and extra cleaning made a difference there?
Now with over 100 million adults fully vaccinated against COVID the numbers of cases are going down. All of those cleaning and distancing efforts certainly helped, but what has really made the difference in our numbers is the vaccine. Nothing has been as dramatic in slowing infections as the vaccines. When you look at websites like the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard you can see that in countries that made a strong concerted effort to get their citizens vaccinated, the graph of their new daily infections has shown a steady decline. Israel, for example, quickly got over 60% of their population fully vaccinated and their numbers decreased from a high of 10,000 new cases a day in January 2021 to under 70 per day at the end of April. Some sections here in the United States can boast similar successes. In other areas, however, where fewer people are getting vaccinated, the numbers of new cases are still higher than we want.
Now that we have enough vaccine and it is readily available to anyone 16 and older, the effort is changing from working through each of the eligible age groups to encouraging everyone to get a vaccine as soon as they can. Those who were eager to get vaccinated have done so—over 100 million of them; now the demand is slowing down and the effort must be to encourage those who have not yet gotten their dose. People have their reasons to delay, but it is so important that as many people as possible get their shots so that we can have what is called herd immunity—at least 75% of the population vaccinated–in order to stop the virus from spreading and from mutating into new variants that may not be as well controlled with our current vaccines.
So now it is all about incentivizing people. Here in Fort Wayne Community Transportation Network and Uber are offering free rides to get vaccinated, other groups are offering incentives like free food and giveaways. In some states, like West Virginia for example, residents between the ages of 16 and 35 who choose to get vaccinated are being given $100 savings bonds. And here at Wayne Township we are doing what we can to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Join us on May 15th—even if you are already vaccinated come out and have a hot dog on us. We’d be glad to see you.
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