One full year into the coronavirus pandemic, and with vaccines promised to be widely available in Oregon within a few short months, many Canby community members report they are eager to receive their shots if it will save lives and bring a swifter return to normalcy.
Some of those who are currently eligible — either because of their jobs, age or pre-existing risk factors — have already taken it, including Canby Mayor Brian Hodson.
“I had both of mine — Moderna,” Hodson said in response to a thread on The Canby Current‘s Facebook page. “I work as a director for an assisted living community and felt it was my obligation to do what I could to keep my residents safe.”
Retired Canby Fire District division chief and active community organizer Todd Gary cited a desire for some normalcy as his primary motivation, and a return to dearly missed local events like the Canby Rodeo, for which he has served as a longtime board member.
“I have both of mine, and I’m glad I did,” Gary said. “The sooner they can get people vaccinated the sooner we get back to a new normal. With a majority vaccinated, we can get back to going to rodeos, festivals, watching sports and other large gatherings. Isn’t that what we all want?”
Two other longtime members of the Canby Fire family, Wayne and Connie Austen, also happily received the protection promised by the vaccine.
“So thankful for modern medicine and the ability to protect not only ourselves, but our family, friends and community!” Connie Austen said. “Thank you, Moderna.”
Other first responders have also taken part, like Megan Fisher English, who works in health care.
“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to help contribute to the ability to protect my family, friends, coworkers, community, neighbors and those most at risk,” she said. “I’m also hopeful that, with more people getting vaccinated, we can return to a level of normalcy sooner than later, and I’m happy to do my part to get us there.”
Educators also reported doing their part to hasten back their own versions of the “new normal” — i.e., students back in school, live and in person.
“I’ve had both my shots,” said Canby High School teacher and dance coach Jennifer Chaffee. “Very thankful to have another layer of protection so I can get back in the classroom with my students!”
Retired Canby teacher Kathleen Hagans Jeskey said she also plans to get immunized — as soon as she can get an appointment.
“I hate getting shots, so fingers crossed I get a J&J appointment,” she said, alluding to the fact that the new vaccine by Johnson & Johnson comes in a single dose rather than the two required by Pfizer and Moderna’s. “But I’ll take anything they offer.”
“When it’s my turn, I will happily take it,” agreed Tyson Silva. “I don’t care which one.”
Of course, wanting to get the vaccine — in theory — is one thing. In practice, many residents have found the reality is significantly more challenging.
“It was like a full-time job trying to get my first vaccine appointment even scheduled,” said Deb Barnes. “Finally able to get an appointment an hour away from home through Salem Health “My Chart.” Second appointment was a little easier to schedule, so I’m set!”
Mike Jordan was so frustrated by the process he had given up trying.
“Can’t get an appointment on any of the sites — none of them,” he said. “Been eligible for weeks. We won’t be getting the vaccine because we simply cannot get an appointment. I gave up on it just this morning. It’s hopeless for us.”
But not everyone plans to get vaccinated — regardless of availability — citing various concerns, from the unknown long-term effects of the injection to mistrust of the government.
“I don’t get the flu shot, not going to jump on the bandwagon,” said Cindy Seeman. “Instead, I focus on boosting my immune system. Haven’t had the flu in 20 years.”
“I have declined both of my vaccines as well as my mom who is 89,” Cindy Atkins agreed. “Why would you want to take a vaccine that was rushed through the process, not knowing any long-term side effects? In addition, this new strain of flu [has a] 99% survival rate. And, you still have to wear a mask!”
The Covid-19 vaccines were indeed the fastest ever developed — though researchers had something of a head start in that they had been experimenting with other coronavirus vaccines in mice for years.
All three vaccines currently being offered to the American public have been tested by the Federal Drug Administration and other independent and nonpartisan groups of scientists and health experts and have been determined to be safe and effective.
Other residents said they were motivated to receive the vaccine not to bring back large events like fairs and concerts — but for a return to normalcy in smaller and more personal ways.
“We are over 65 and get vaccinated on Tuesday,” said Joan Daudistel. “Having had to distance ourselves from people I love is emotionally hard.”
“I have had my second Pfizer vaccination over two weeks ago,” Gina Weller said. “I feel relieved and less vulnerable. I can see others who have also been vaccinated with much less concern. It is freeing. Of course, precautions are still important.”
Steph Wise said they felt they need to take it for their “loved ones, clients, coworkers and my own safety.”
“If not for you, think of everyone else that will benefit from trusting scientists and working to end Covid-19,” they said.
David Bradfute, of Dumme Kuh Farmstead in Molalla, believes that the facts are in favor of the vaccine.
“Absolutely will be taking it,” he said. “All the evidence and science back up its efficacy.”
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