When I first got vaccinated, I felt what I was doing was a personal decision. I made my choice, others could make their own.

But lately my feelings have changed. In an article published in The News-Enterprise last week, Steve White, assistant vice president of operations at Baptist Health Hardin, said as of noon Thursday, there were 98 COVID patients in the hospital.

One of my family members was among this group.

I’ve heard people say really nasty things when it comes to this topic, so I’m not going to go into any details. All I will say is that my family is going through a difficult time right now.

It’s a sad situation but also an infuriating one, as this whole thing could have been avoided.

Throughout this pandemic, it’s been heartbreaking to hear of the hundreds of thousands who have died. It’s hard to imagine all of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives who have exited this world without their loved ones by their side — their last feelings being fear, loneliness and suffocation.

The other day I had to hear a family member on the other end of the phone crying because she feared a loved one was going to endure this very scenario.

And for what? “Freedom?” The freedom to let children fill ICU beds while you consume more misinformation and nonsense on your phone? Got it.

When this pandemic affects you on such a visceral level, it’s hard to see how any of it has been politicized. There’s a virus and a vaccine. Get the vaccine so there’s no more virus. I, nor anyone else, should lose a family member at this point when the answer to this problem is so clear.

If we don’t reach higher vaccination rates, the virus will just continue to mutate and kill more people. It’s that simple.

I’m not an epidemiologist, a doctor or even someone who earned more than a C in science class. But I don’t have to be any of these things because I can trust the insight of disease experts and medical professionals. I’d much rather trust them than some guy on Facebook who “did research.”

You know, I wouldn’t even necessarily have a problem with folks who refuse to get the vaccine, as long as they would stay home and wear a mask when they need to go out. But people clearly are not doing that, as demonstrated by this massive surge of cases and hospitalizations.

I know I’m not winning anyone over here. But if you haven’t gotten the jab by now, I doubt my little column would provide you with a change of heart anyway.

All I hope is that you don’t have to go through what my family is going through. I genuinely mean that.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1413 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

(2) comments

Independent Mind

Amen Andrew.

ANNWALL

Thank you Andrew for this article. I hope it reaches many people!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Terms of Use. The complete terms of use policy can be found at the bottom of this page.