Commentary: Rome Commissioner Sundai Stevenson urges all ‘to roll up our sleeves to do what is best not just for ourselves but for each other.’ Getting back to normal is ‘worth a shot.’

Commentary: Rome Commissioner Sundai Stevenson urges all ‘to roll up our sleeves to do what is best not just for ourselves but for each other.’ Getting back to normal is ‘worth a shot.’

By Sundai Stevenson
Rome City Commissioner

As the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, it’s hard to believe that more than a year has passed since the world as we know it changed due to the deadly coronavirus. I’m sure most of us spent the last year telling ourselves that we would do anything—literally anything—for a return to how things used to be. No more masks, no more quarantines, back to business and no more social distancing. 

Thanks to an unprecedented effort by our nation’s medical community and state and local leaders, we now have the chance to reconnect with the people, activities and habits that we enjoyed before March 2020. This chance is made possible by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

To date, over 3 million Georgians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 1.5 million are fully vaccinated. Most important, zero of these 3 million Georgians have died from the vaccine. Conversely, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 18,000 Georgia residents. Rome, we have the opportunity to create a community of immunity and save lives! 

To those valued Rome citizens who are hesitant—even skeptical—about receiving the vaccine, I understand that uncertainty about the process, and historic mistreatment has caused some of you to feel this way. You can trust this process. Join the millions of Americans, who have received 165 million-plus doses, and have trusted this vaccine process! 

While it’s true that the COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out faster than other vaccines, each approved vaccine went through the same rigorous testing as previous vaccines and medicines. In the US, this process has produced safe and effective vaccines for the flu, polio, measles, mumps, and more. The technology behind the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines—mRNA—has been in development for nearly 30 years and has saved millions of people from getting sick and dying.

No, shots aren’t fun. But they really aren’t that bad, either. In fact, some of us might only have to get one dose. For the rest of us, we are just two doses away from protecting ourselves, our families, our friends and our communities from another lost year.

And that’s the thing: Getting vaccinated isn’t just about you. It’s about your parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors, child’s favorite teacher and the cashier at your local grocery store. It’s about F & P, Paula’s, Los Portales, Jazzy Hot Wings and the thousands of other workers, small business owners and community members who have been impacted by this global pandemic. 

It’s time, Rome. Time for us to roll up our sleeves to do what is best not just for ourselves but for each other. It’s time to get back to being us again. All of that? It’s worth a shot.

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