To our Athens Community:

Now is the time to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already.

We all owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, business owners, people with disabilities, and those of us who want to go back to living a more normal life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over half of the adult population of the United States has had at least one vaccine shot as I write this. No one has died from COVID-19 who received the vaccine.

Meanwhile, nearly 600,000 people in the United States and over three million people worldwide (probably significantly more) have died because of COVID-19. The numbers speak for themselves. The vaccine is safe.

I repeat: Now is the time to get your vaccine!

There are many conspiracy theories floating around. I have Facebook. I see them, too. I also acknowledge that our country has a long history of treating people of color and people with disabilities without our consent or even inflicting additional harm through experimentation. This is not the case with this vaccine. Everyone, of all classes, abilities, and color is getting the vaccine. Please check out reputable sites such as the CDC for your information.

How do you get your vaccine? Check out https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ or call 1-833-427-5634 to get more information.

We have one chance to end the pandemic before a fourth wave spreads — and that is to get the vaccine as soon as you are able. It’s worth it. It’s worth feeling sick for a day or two, like I felt. Others might not feel sick at all. It’s worth it to save lives of those who are unable to get vaccinated and before a breakthrough strain of COVID-19 emerges due to a large number of infections. It’s worth it even if you think getting the virus won’t make you feel sick.

While we understand the effects of the vaccine and how the vaccines work, the virus also causes long term heart and breathing issues, along with other health issues. I know young and healthy people who continue to have significant health complications from COVID-19. Please do your part. It’s okay to change your mind. I do it all the time when I get better information. Help us get back to a normal life.

Editor’s Note: Davey McNelly is a masters level social worker and serves as chairperson of the Athens City Commission on Disabilities and is a member of the Commission’s Accessibility Committee. He is employed by the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a Service and Support Administrator.

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