Editorial —
Get the shots

Glenn Rutherford

People — lots of people — are still getting sick from COVID-19.

Some of them are dying, just like the nearly 700,000 Americans who have fallen before the literally breath-taking onslaught of this mindless virus.

Now, some of those sick people — people that you may know and care about — are children.

And still there are people who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccines. Their refusal not only defies logic, it defies the very tenets of our church and our faith.

If their refusal infuriates you, you are not alone. It should infuriate anyone who takes seriously the Christ-centered notion that we are to love one another, to care for one another, to be responsible for one another.

Charmein Weathers, communications coordinator for the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry, is one of those people who has just had it with vaccine avoiders.

She recently had an acquaintance, 44-years-old, who refused to get the vaccine and died after contracting the disease. It made her sad and mad at the same time.

“Actually, it infuriates me,” she said recently. “Remember when the pandemic started and we didn’t have options? Now we do. Now we have no excuse.”

Like others who are perplexed by the refusal to be vaccinated, Weathers sees that refusal as an act of selfishness.

“When you feel your right to personal freedom supersedes my right to be healthy, well, that’s where we should draw the line,” she said.

And she’s right.

In a recent letter to priests, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz reiterated the policy of the local church when it comes to the use of masks and the question of vaccinations.

“Both parishioners and employees who are not yet fully vaccinated are required to wear masks at Sunday worship and in any parish meetings, functions, or events,” the letter said.

And it noted that in light of “clarification from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Doctrine and Pro-Life Committees,” the archdiocese will not issue religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Sept. 8, slightly less than 50 percent of all Kentuckians had received both vaccine doses. And believe it or not, that’s a lower percentage than the state of Florida, where the Delta COVID variant is running rampant. In the Sunshine State, 54.3 percent of the people have taken the full series of vaccine shots.

Over the past week, the state of Kentucky has averaged about 4,000 new COVID cases a day. Ninety percent of hospital intensive care unit beds throughout the state are filled, and in some cases people who are seriously ill with other diseases or medical issues can’t get a hospital bed.

Surgeries are being delayed, care is being delayed, and people continue to get sick and die in the face of a solution to the problem. Vaccines are that solution.

Consider this: The Associated Press reported last week that more than 90 percent of all the COVID deaths nationwide are unvaccinated people. And here’s one other tale that illustrates the illogical nature of vaccine avoidance.

At a recent banquet in the archdiocese, a former Marine in his 30s was discussing the pandemic and the issue of the vaccines. He said he wasn’t going to get vaccinated.

Here was a man who volunteered to take a bullet for his country if necessary, but was unwilling to take a needle in the shoulder for his neighbor. Does that make any sense?

No, it doesn’t. Just as Record Editor Marnie McAllister wrote only last month, getting vaccinated is the “good and charitable thing to do.”

From now until the first week of November, there are more than 20 locations around the city of Louisville that will be administering the shots. One of the vaccination clinics is being held Sept. 18 at the Catholic Enrichment Center, 3146 W. Broadway.

So, literally, for the love of God, care for yourself, your family, your neighbors.

Get the shots.

Glenn Rutherford
Record Editor Emeritus

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