We all must be patient a while longer. There is optimism in the country as the COVID vaccines have been jabbed into more than 30 million arms thus far. 

Yet vaccinations have been frustratingly slow; state rules regarding who is eligible seem to change weekly. Why, some ask, are inmates at state correctional facilities getting shots before many others who are vulnerable in society—seniors, for one group. 

Inmates are wards of the state. The financial consequences of allowing COVID to surge freely through our prisons is just too great to ignore. We understand that. We understand, too, that Oregon has not been getting the number of vaccines necessary to provide the first of two innoculations for the general population.

The presence of vaccines does not mean we are out of danger. Experts say that COVID will be with us for years to come, but much less deadly once 100% of us are vaccinated. 

We cannot assume that one shot of the vaccine makes us immune. Most were developed as a two-shot regimen. 

While many of us wait for our turn to get vaccinated, we must stay vigilant, especially with the COVID variants that have been identified in other parts of the world – it’s just a matter of time until those variants arrive in Oregon. That means we just continue wearing masks regardless of how much we dislike them. We must maintain social distance. We must assure we do not take part in a superspreader events.

We all want to greet the spring season without masks and start planning for travel once again. Going out to dinner with others, inside a restaurant no less, is a goal that is very doable. 

COVID is real and has killed almost 500,000 Americans. It may kill thousands more, but each of us must do out part to slow the spread. Easing of restrictions must be a slow process but those making those decisons must have the livelihoods of Oregonians and Americans in mind.

Science will slow and eventually curb the coronavirus. A vaccine was developed in an amazingly short window of time. We must help science along, be patient and realize we are all in this together. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

 —LAZ