The polls we run in the Alexandria Times opinion section are not scientific, as people self-select whether to participate. If these were intended to be a reliable reflection of opinion, respondents would need to be randomly chosen from throughout the city.
Polls like ours are a fun way to engage readers and let them voice an opinion on the week’s chosen topic.
That said, sometimes the result of our polls causes our collective jaw to drop. One such instance was our poll in the June 17 issue of the Times, which asked “Have you, your family and your close friends all received the COVID-19 vaccine?”
We were horrified when 59% of the respondents replied that neither they nor their families had yet received any doses of the vaccine. Admittedly, this was a very small sample size, as only 100 or so people answered this particular poll, and as we said above, all of our polls are unscientific.
But anyone who reads our paper regularly, and we assume most poll-takers fall into that category, knows how vigorously we have advocated for people to, first, wear masks and then, get the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available.
All three vaccines, the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines, are effective, safe, free and widely available in Alexandria. It’s mind-boggling that anyone who is physically able to get this, or any vaccine, has neglected to do so.
For those who are still hesitating to get the vaccine – and everyone who has chosen to remain unvaccinated has their own reason for doing so – we ask you to ponder these three points:
1) The development of these three vaccines is one of the most remarkable scientific achievements in recent years. Their rapid journey from labs to people’s arms in less than a year – although mRNA vaccines had been in development since the early 1990s – is a logistical marvel that was powered by medical, business and governmental cooperation. This achievement is one for the history books.
2) We in the United States are unspeakably blessed – and privileged – to have had such quick access to these life-saving vaccines. The administrations of former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden have both done a fantastic job of rolling them out. Anyone age 12 or over can be vaccinated in the U.S. This is not the case in most of the rest of the world, particularly countries like India and Brazil, where there aren’t enough vaccines to go around and those that are available are less effective than the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson versions.
3) Our nation’s motto of “e pluribus unum” – out of many, one – has seldom been more salient. Each person who receives the vaccine becomes a brick in the wall against COVID-19. If we all get the vaccine, we become one, united force to stop this scourge. Conversely, each person who chooses to remain unvaccinated becomes a hole in that wall that the virus and its many mutations can creep through and continue the cycle of infection and reinfection.
To those reading these words who have not received the vaccine: please reconsider. For your own sake, and for those around you, please get vaccinated.