Opinion: Get Vaccinated. Make Pledge to Keep Maryland Safe

Photo by Heather Hazzan/Self Magazine.

Like many students who decided to go to an out-of-state college, I never thought that during my junior year, a pandemic would prevent me from seeing my loved ones. As a student majoring in health policy and management, I am terrified of what it means to return home to my family in Maryland.

With Rhode Island recording the most COVID-19 cases per capita in the country, it is difficult for me to envision returning home without fearing that I could infect my younger siblings and parents. I know that if I were to bring COVID-19 back home, I would be jeopardizing my family’s health and well-being.

In Maryland, coronavirus has drastically affected our health, economy and well-being. As a Marylander, I urge the members of my beloved community to look after each another rather than their own self-interest. Now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved a COVID-19 vaccine, Marylanders should consider getting vaccinated when vaccines become available to the general public.

My growing concern with the polarization in our country and with Marylanders who are hesitant to stop the spread worries me. I fear that Marylanders who opposed mask wearing and social-distancing protocols in the past 10 months will be the first ones who will be prompting the anti-vaccine sentiments. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 would be a patriotic act that we, as Marylanders, must do.

I urge Marylanders to pledge to keep Maryland and its citizens safe.

During these unprecedented times, COVID-19 has continued to impact people in monetary and social forms. Maryland hospitals are now bombarded with patients, physicians work endless hours and ventilators are challenging to obtain. With the increased surge in COVID-19 cases it is crucial that as Marylanders we are following COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing during the holiday season.

Given the multilevel threats of COVID-19, Marylanders must get vaccinated for COVID-19 to alleviate this virus’ spread. When analyzing how COVID-19 drastically affected our nation, we must first consider the data. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 306,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and there have been 9 million cases in the United States in the past 10 months.

As of Wednesday, the Maryland Department of Health confirmed 241,767 cases of COVID-19 and 5,103 deaths. These numbers emphasize how the health and social life of all people continue to be jeopardized.

It is time for Marylanders to work together to encourage one another to get vaccinated and leave no room for religious or philosophical exemptions. If we followed state guidelines, our health and that of individuals with compromised immune systems would not be in jeopardy when they venture outside their homes.

Only through compliance will we be able to reduce the number of infected individuals in our state. However, one thing to note is that COVID-19 will not disappear entirely with the arrival of a vaccine, but enough people will become immune to the disease over time. As a result of this, Marylanders will protect one another, even those who are not themselves immune.

If we want to go back to normalcy or get close to it, we must do everything we can right now to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging one another to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Our call to action this winter should also be to educate one another on the dangers of avoiding vaccination and on measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID.

The safety of our state and the health of Marylanders lies at the tip of our fingers. Before it is too late, let us advocate for public health and encourage our families this holiday season to follow COVID protocols so that we can stop this pandemic and its social, economic and health impacts.

— CECY JANAIRA GRANADOS

The writer is a junior at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and a resident of Baltimore.