Go the extra mile, get vaccinated


Amelia Knopp, Page Editor

I ran a mile to receive my second COVID-19 vaccination. Here’s why more Americans should be going that extra mile, too. 

I scheduled my first vaccination appointment in early April, which was soon after 16-year-olds became vaccine-eligible. While en route to my second vaccine appointment, my mom and I got caught in Saturday construction traffic near Aggieville. After waiting for nearly 15 minutes, we realized that I was in jeopardy of missing my appointment. My mom looked at me and told me to get ready to run to the pharmacy. I thought that she was joking. 

In full disclosure, my dad is a family physician, so we greatly respect the medical providers and scientists who made it possible for us to be vaccinated. At that point in the vaccination roll-out, the US did not have the abundance of vaccines that we do now. Missing my appointment was not an option. 

At the corner of Anderson and Manhattan Avenue, my mom handed me my paperwork and instructed me to book it to my appointment at the Manhattan Hyvee Pharmacy. I didn’t set a mile PR that day, but it was probably close. After I received my shot and sat down for the 15-minute monitoring period, I was able to relax for two reasons. First of all, my breathing was finally slowing after adding an extra mile to my day. And second, I had finally received my second vaccine: the key to keeping myself, my family, and my friends safe, the key to avoiding quarantine, the key to ensuring that I didn’t miss any school or activities and the key to doing my part during this pandemic. 

Currently, 1 in 500 Americans have died from COVID-19. The United States leads the world in total cases and total deaths from COVID-19, and we are among the highest in death rates per 100,000 population. Yet we have only fully vaccinated 55% of our total population. This vaccination percentage ranks 57th among countries world-wide, and the US ranking is falling month by month. The vaccines are very safe, effective at reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and extremely effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death. If you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, talk to your doctor. 

As I share my story with family and friends, we laugh about the idea of my mom kicking me out of the car to run to my appointment. But in the big picture, running an extra mile was a minor inconvenience for me to get my vaccine. There are people in this world who would run a lot further if it meant they could receive their vaccine today. This medical gift is worth any personal sacrifice it may require — we can protect our family, friends, schools and communities. Please consider going the extra mile to protect yourself and your fellow Americans.