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Letter to the editor: History proves that vaccines work

To the editor:

Rarely is any unvaccinated person safe from developing illness from the COVID-19 Coronavirus. There are procedures we may take to reduce one’s risk. Some are required.  Most are recommended. Presently, most preventative actions are not thoroughly undertaken even though we are into another surge. This time with another variant that is very transmissible, and yet still deadly, nearly shutting down an entire large country.

Having had anaphylaxis as a child in the 1940s (caused by an antitoxin, not a vaccination), I was a bit apprenhensive when I took the first coronavirous vaccine dose. After the shot, I felt well and confident that I would be protected against the virus the next time. One year earlier I was a victim of it. I was very fortunate not to require hospitalization. But when I coughed, which was often, and couldn’t get my breath, I thought my existence might cease.

In my lifetime, I have seen many serious, deadly, and/or disabling diseases eradicated by vaccination. For example, smallpox no longer exists. As a young physician I inoculated a lot of people against it. We no longer have to do that. Following the many oral polio vaccination clinics in 1964, polio is a rare occurrence. In the US, rubeola (measles) and varicella (chicken pox) does not occur among vaccinated persons. Tetanus is rare. Diptheria is rare. Pertussis is rare except in communities of unvaccinated persons. These diseases are serious deadly conditions from which we are protected by vaccination.

The last three vaccinations mentioned above are required of children prior to entering public school. Meningococcal meningitis vaccination is required by most colleges and universities, especially boarding students. There are other examples, including hepatitis, against which I had to be vaccinated in order to be allowed to practice my profession. Even little newborn babies get this one for starters. People joining the military services in the U.S. receive vaccinations for all of the above and many more, especially if a member is to be stationed overseas.

Serious adverse reactions to vaccinations I mention, including coronaviruos COVID-19, are rare. Non-serious symptoms do occur, similar in kind an occurrence to influenza vaccines without long lasting subsequent developments. If a person is sick due to the virus, there is a high risk of requiring hospitalization, and a high risk of not surviving. If one does survive there is a high risk of not ever feeling as well as one previously did.

The director of the Center for Disease Control-Prevention stated that in May 2021, “more than 99% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. occurred among unvaccinated people.” (The Week 7/16/2021).

As of July 2, 2021 in Davie County, 4,228 people (among nearly 42,000) have tested positive for COVID-19.Currently, there are 24 active cases; down from over 50. A great reduction from 457 actively sick in January 2021.The number of deaths has been slowly climbing throughout the pandemic, and now remains at 55. There has been no significant change in several months.

As of July 8, 2021, 43% of Davie residents have had at least one dose of the coronaviours vaccine; a level equal to that of the state of North Carolina, but not 80% which is thought to be the minimum required level to achieve immunity (protection) throughout the population.

Most people are always eager to help one another, especially when someone is sick. Vaccination of the greater number in the community (and everywhere) is a great opportunity now to help ourselves, our family, our friends, and our neighbors – everyone.

George Kimberly, Mocksville

Medical Direction, Davie County Health Dept.