Apr. 16—Saying thank you doesn't feel like nearly enough.
But thank you to all those staffing COVID-19 vaccination sites.
I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Monday at Public Health — Idaho North Central District in Lewiston and was impressed by the kindness and professionalism of all those assisting at the facility, from nurses and other health care workers to the National Guard personnel on hand to help. Like some, I had minor symptoms after the second shot — low-grade fever, headache, tiredness. Overall I felt kinda yucky, but avoiding the coronavirus is worth a brief bit of discomfort.
Thank you to all those who have taken the time and the responsible step of receiving the vaccine to fight off this deadly disease.
As of this writing, that amounts to 23,449 people in north central Idaho, 12,196 in southeastern Washington, 389,083 in the state of Idaho, 1,765,245 in the state of Washington and 78,498,290 in the U.S. who are fully vaccinated.
If you haven't done so yet, please make an appointment to be vaccinated. We are nowhere near herd immunity, roughly 70 percent of the population vaccinated, which will help offset those who for health reasons can't be vaccinated and others unwilling to do what is needed for the greater benefit of their neighbors, family and friends. For the curious, we are currently sitting at 28 percent of the population fully vaccinated in Idaho, among people 16 and older; 23 percent in Washington, among all people; and 30 percent nationwide, among people 18 and older.
Thank you to all those who continue to take this pandemic seriously, following well-established Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols like wearing masks and proper social distancing. Those CDC guidelines remain firmly in place: "When you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Masks work best when everyone wears one. A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart, especially when indoors around people who don't live in your household."
It's worth repeating — thank you to those who continue to wear masks when out in public. They are doing this despite a lack of leadership from the likes of the Idaho Legislature and its irresponsible approach to the pandemic, the Lewiston City Council that dropped its citywide mask mandate March 22 and the Lewiston School District, which as of Tuesday gave students permission to quit wearing masks while sitting next to each other in classrooms for the remaining eight weeks of school. It's a shame the city and school district changed course after setting the right example for months.
That said, thank you to the students who wear masks, social distance and, when they reach the age of 16, get vaccinated.
Thank you to the teachers who do all they can to educate our youth, while working hard to keep themselves and those around them safe.
Thank you to the first responders, police officers and health care professionals who, hopefully, have gotten us through the worst of this. I say hopefully, because we are not out of the woods yet.
But we will get there. We'll get there thanks to all who didn't let political views get in the way of science-based practices.
And we'll get there, thank you, because to do otherwise is unimaginable.
Clohessy is managing editor of the Lewiston Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2251.