The big question of the day is whether to get one or not. Some will, some will not, and haters will throw shade at either side.

In case you are wondering, I am not referring to buying a lottery ticket. Because it looks as if we Alabamians are never going to be given that opportunity by our personal protectors in the big house down in Montgomery.

No, I am talking about the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the latest statistics from Dr. Scott Harris, 1.5 million of our fellow Alabama citizens have gotten at least one shot of the two -shot regimen.

Everyone from the president to Governor Ivey have encouraged us to consider getting vaccinated. We have seen photo ops with all kinds of celebrities and news makers getting the needle.

 I am not sure why that was at all necessary. We are intelligent enough to know what to do when given factual information we can rely on.

The big rally cry now that the mask mandate has expired is for “personal responsibility.” Just like the mask mandate, if our future really depends on people doing the right thing or being personally responsible, then we are all in big trouble.

The failure to accept personal responsibility led to the virus’ continuous spread.

Throughout history, there is recorded evidence of the difference vaccinations can make in the fight against debilitating diseases and avoidable deaths. It is a proven scientific fact they have had an important effect on our longevity and quality of life.

You should not need another reason to get vaccinated. And yet, some folks have come up with all kinds of excuses. Just as they did about wearing a mask.

A recent report highlighted several reasons certain groups of people are reluctant to get the vaccine. Forty percent of those surveyed said they are waiting to see if the vaccines were safe.

Others say they lack trust in the government.

An NPR poll revealed that Republican men and Trump supporters were more likely than any other group to say they would not get a vaccine if it were offered.

Perhaps they are not aware that Mr. Trump quietly got himself vaccinated in January. It is interesting that he chose not to get one publicly as others did. If he would use his popularity to convey a positive message about his choice, just imagine how many people would line up for the vaccine.

Probably the most perplexing data recently released about vaccine distribution involved the results from white evangelicals. According to the numbers, forty-five percent will not get vaccinated.

Even though many high-profile conservative pastors and religious leaders have encouraged their followers to get vaccinated, there is still considerable resistance.

Some experts claim this a result of a “complex web of moral, medical and political objection.” Say what?

According to the report, there was a combination of factors that contributed to their reluctance. The biggest one being their religious belief pertaining to abortion.

They claim there is a direct link to abortion because some of the COVID-19 vaccines were developed and tested using cells derived from the fetal tissue of elective abortions that occurred two decades ago.

Scientists say the vaccine does not include fetal tissue and no additional abortions are needed to manufacture the vaccine. Yet the information was noted online and away it goes, into the social media misinformation caravan.

One woman who says she is a Bible-believing nutritionist claims she does not need a vaccine because God designed the body to heal itself.

Some see it as a battle of faith over fear. They reportedly believe if a person has enough faith, they will be protected from the virus and will only die if God sees fit for that to happen.

This kind of sentiment is very hurtful to the families who have lost loved ones. This virus was not a punishment from God to weed out faithless followers.

Others say they do not like the idea of the government forcing something on them.

Just like the masks, you should not have to be forced to get vaccinated. It should be obvious by now that being responsible includes wanting to protect others also.

 We all want back some semblance of our previous life, and this is our best chance.

Community members refusing to get vaccinated pose a serious obstacle to our ability to recover from the pandemic.

Everyone will have to decide what personal responsibility means to them. The choice will have to be made about whether it is every man for himself or what is best for everyone.

Getting a vaccine is the right thing to do. If we really intend to accept personal responsibility, then that is the way to start.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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