Kids fear some crazy things. I remember as a child being afraid of the green giant on the side of a box in my bedroom closet. That fear vanished as I got a little older. I remember another fear of something more sinister. I was afraid I’d contract polio and have to live in an iron lung, permanently on my back, and having to view the TV through a mirror positioned above my eyes while the device did the breathing I could no longer do.
About the time I was born, polio cases were surging in the U.S. but vaccines were developed and I remember in early grade school all the kids lining up and drinking a little cup of what tasted like sugar water. Over the next few years immunization programs in the U.S. were successful and my fear of the iron lung joined the fear of the green giant although, to this day, seeing my friends that need braces on their legs to walk because of the lingering paralysis reminds me of that fear.
I also have a scar on my right shoulder. It’s not big — about the size of a dime. If you’re younger than about 50 and born in the U.S. you don’t have the scar caused by the Smallpox vaccination. Smallpox was eradicated by vaccination in the U.S. in 1972. I’m proud of my scar.
We’re now in the process of relaxing restrictions that prevent the spread of the Covid 19 virus and life looks to be starting a return to normal. This process is made possible by the development and administration of safe and effective vaccines. As more and more people are vaccinated restrictions can be lifted without increasing the risk to public health. This means, however, that if we delay receiving our vaccination we delay further relaxing of restrictions. Life won’t fully return to normal without a large percentage of the population carrying an immunity to the Covid 19 virus and delaying that immunity increases the chance the virus will mutate to a form more dangerous or a form our current vaccines can’t fight. Please don’t delay. We all want to return to normal.
Robin Kinney resides in Meigs County with a background in emergency communication services. Viewpoints expressed in this column are the work of the author.