When we think of a herd we think of a large group of animals (such as sheep or elephants) especially hooved mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together in a social group. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a herd as 1a: a typically large group of animals of one kind kept together under human control as in a herd of cattle, b: a congregation of gregarious wild animals as in a herd of antelope, 2a: a group of people usually having a common bond as in a herd of tourists.
It does seem rather demeaning to refer to a group of humans as a herd. As members of the Lutheran church we belong to a herd of people with a multifaceted common bond. One of these bonds is in caring for others and in doing so we also must care for ourselves. Foremost on our minds in caring for others and ourselves over the past 14 months has been protection from contracting Covid-19. A major gift for assisting all humans in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the vaccine, is now ours to take and join the herd if we will just do it. In so doing we show our care and concern not just for local recovery but for global recovery from Covid-19. To however become part of the herd we must have received the required number of shots for that particular vaccine. According to a report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, current data suggests that around 70 percent of the population would need to be immune to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19. As this article goes to press, all of the states in the Southeastern Synod (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee) are at or close to the bottom of the percent of Covid-19 fully vaccinated individuals for all states and the District of Columbia.
I have heard multiple reasons for not getting the vaccination from individuals who do not want to be vaccinated, i.e., “My immunity is great and I never get sick so I don’t need the vaccination!” “I have been exposed to Covid-19 and I did not get it so why should I get vaccinated?” “The vaccine might make me very ill.” “The three vaccines approved for use in the US have not been fully approved by the FDA.”
We have been told multiple times that the best protection from Covid-19 is to get the vaccination and become part of the herd community. If you are still undecided, here are five of my reasons for having already been vaccinated for Covid-19.
- How quickly the world can get back to “normal” depends upon how many people around you and me have been vaccinated.
- In caring for myself by getting the vaccination, I know that I am also caring for those in and beyond my herd.
- Participation in helping to reduce this global pandemic by taking the vaccine will help to prevent the occurrence of additional Covid-19 variants, potentially reducing further illnesses and death. The more variants that occur, the more deadly this disease will become.
- The vaccine may not be perfect but it is the best opportunity that there is to allow me to hug my grandchildren and vaccinated children and friends without a deep fear of contracting Covid-19. It is with hope that my underage grandchildren will soon have the opportunity to also be vaccinated.
- Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is far less toxic to my body than having Covid-19 and potentially having to be admitted to the hospital with multiple IV fluids and medications or maybe even dying from this disease.
Finally, we are hopeful that we are on the road to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but it depends upon how many of us are willing to commit to becoming part of the herd. If you have not already done so it is time to follow public health guidance with courage, hope, compassion and love and become part of the herd to help stop the spread of this deadly disease to all near and far.
Cornelia Pearson, RN, MN
- Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) - https://www.cidrap.umn.edu.
- Herd Immunity and Covid-19 (coronavirus): What You Need to Know, Mayo Clinic - www.mayoclinic.org.
- Marriam-Webster dictionary - https://www.merriam-webster.com
- Plan Your Vaccine, http://www.planyourvaccine.com
- U.S. Coronavirus Map: What do the Trends Mean for You? Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org