Get the vaccine. Now.

Public health officials have advised a gentle method to persuade people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Answer their questions. Listen. Etc.

To heck with that. With the recent dramatic increase in positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths, we’re beyond being nice. It’s time to get blunt.

Get vaccinated. Now.

Going into the summer, it looked like Gov. Mike Dunleavy was right when he said that COVID-19 was in the rear view mirror. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory saying fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear facemasks indoors. All of a sudden, everyone acted like they had been fully vaccinated, and wearing masks became rare at local stores.

Except that the vaccination rate for the Kenai Peninsula as a whole and the southern peninsula has yet to climb higher than 50%. In Anchor Point the rate is 37.4%. In the other south areas of the southern peninsula the rate is 17.9%. Many of you are scofflaws.

Rates had started to drop. Hospitalizations went down. People quit dying from COVID-19. It felt safe to gather with friends. And if everyone in your social circle was fully vaccinated, it was safe — is safe. Alas, unvaccinated people, many of whom had denied the severity of the pandemic all along, also acted that way.

They are wrong. Dead wrong, it turns out. According to the most recent Alaska Department of Health and Social Services weekly report, of the 82 Alaskans who have died with COVID-19 since Jan. 1, 81 were unvaccinated.

True, some vaccinated people have tested positive and some have been hospitalized. The evidence is clear. If you’re vaccinated, it is extremely unlikely you will get sick or die of COVID-19. If you’re unvaccinated, well, the odds are not in your favor.

We’re in another phase of the pandemic. Unlike last year, when few of us had been vaccinated, now many of us have made the smart choice and gotten the jab. We’re not in danger. There’s still a pandemic, but it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

You’re the ones who will be coughing. You’re the ones who will lose your sense of taste and smell. You’re the ones who will go to the emergency room. You’re the ones who will get ventilated. You’re the ones who will die.

The real heroes of the pandemic have been the nurses and doctors who have bravely fought to save lives. Last year they had few tools. Now they have a hammer — the vaccine. When the unvaccinated come to be treated, nurses and doctors will do their best to save your life, because that’s the ethic of the profession, but they will probably have to stifle their anger at your idiocy.

If it comes that you get a ventilator pushed down your throat, you might beg for anything, anything that can save you.

You can save yourself now.

Get the vaccine.

– Michael Armstrong, Editor