Leaning Blue: Be Safe

Helina Tedros

Throughout this seemingly unending pandemic, there have been approximately 688,000 deaths in the United States as of this time.

This number is extremely high. High enough that I can say that 1 in 500 Americans have died from COVID-19. I cannot even begin to fathom how many people have lost numerous loved ones from this.

On the flip side, vaccines have been readily available to Americans sixteen and over for a little over six months. At the end of May, emergency approval for twelve through fifteen-year-olds came through for the Pfizer vaccine. On Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA finally officially approved Pfizer. I, a 15-year-old at the time, got vaccinated in June.

Other available vaccines, such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have yet to gain official FDA approval but have been emergency approved.

During the summer, the world finally started opening up again. More and more people were getting vaccinated, and we were well on track for herd immunity. Then Delta hit. Because of the Delta variant, cases started rapidly rising again and we hit a major bump in the road. Most of the people who wanted to get vaccinated were already vaccinated.

The significance of this being that the number of people getting vaccinated started going down. Nobody was getting vaccinated, so we started falling short of our goal. Our goal being herd immunity.

As Delta cases started rising and vaccination rates started flattening out instead of increasing, deaths and cases went up again. I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it suddenly went dark again.

All of these things I started doing again, such as hanging out with bigger groups of people, wearing my mask less often and going to restaurants were slipping away from me. I wanted to be safe and keep others safe but still live my life and have fun.

What was I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? Just as COVID-19 felt like a thing in the past it proved to the whole world that it could rear its ugly head at any time.

Fortunately, there is research to prove that Delta should be reaching its peak anytime soon and dying back down again, but just how soon will it be until there’s another variant?

When are we really going to move on? It has been scientifically proven that getting vaccinated keeps you safe. It lets you get back to the way your life used to be. Right now, we are at a very precarious point in this pandemic. Being vaccinated does not make you 100% COVID-19 safe. It makes you safer. Which is really the point of a vaccine.

Now that a new booster shot coming out to make sure our immunity holds up, I am tentatively hopeful. Maybe this booster shot marks a point of no return for COVID-19. I sure hope it is.

Until then, we have done so much work to get to this point of so-called “freedom”. I understand that being vaccinated is not the right choice for some people, but hopefully, they are using they are not abusing the lack of restrictions to run free.

I want everyone to be safe and this pandemic to be a thing of the past. We are getting there slowly, but we are just not quite there yet.