It is within our power to ensure we don’t have a holiday season like our last.

Remember sitting alone or with just people you live with at the Thanksgiving table?

The lonely Christmas Eve, without family, friends?

Waking up Christmas morning solo?

And then experiencing a subdued New Year’s Eve followed by a long, lonesome winter?

We were unable to socialize in the traditional way, instead parking ourselves in snowy back yards for birthdays and visits, donning long underwear and down jackets, wrapped in sleeping bags, sitting six feet apart.

When many of us got vaccinated, the stress and tension eased somewhat, but we quickly learned about breakthrough cases, where people can get sick despite having been inoculated.

While the vaccines were a game changer in saving lives, preventing hospitalizations and curbing the severity of illness, we remained cautious. Many who opted against vaccination and gathered for the holidays with family and friends got sick and died.

That’s the thing about making decisions based on only what we want. Being unvaccinated means we take other people with us — to the emergency room, the intensive care unit and many times, sadly, the morgue. Decisions we make for ourselves are those we make for others.

It’s easy to think we’re islands unto ourselves, independent players on this earth. But the truth is, we are inextricably bound to each other, both in our communities and around the globe. What we do in little old Waterville, Maine, affects every other human on the planet.

It is in our best interest, therefore, to think not only of ourselves but also of others when we make big health-related decisions during a pandemic, such as whether to be vaccinated or wear masks. It is especially critical for those of us who have public-facing jobs. We all seek to be healthy and must do everything we can to help ensure the good health of those we come in contact with.

When we go to the supermarket to shop for Thanksgiving dinner, we share space with others in the community. As one health expert said early in the pandemic, the virus’ goal is to survive and when it encounters a vaccinated person, it hits a wall with no place else to go.

With hospitalizations and deaths continuing, nearly two years in, wouldn’t it be nice to see new COVID-19 cases decrease, and cease?

To be able to gather with family and friends, confident that we’re breathing virus-free air?

With the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines taking about six weeks to become fully effective after the first and second shots, I figure that gives us just about enough time to ensure we can celebrate safely at Thanksgiving

That is, if those of us who are unvaccinated get inoculated now.

We owe it to everyone, especially our precious kids, to make that life-saving choice.

What greater gift could we give?

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 33 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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