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Letter — Vaccines encouraged

To the Editor:

We have been privileged to be trusted by many of you for your health care needs. We are distressed that we are in a global pandemic, the first in over 100 years. We are tired both mentally and physically from it. We are also upset over the false information about SAR-CoV-2 and the vaccines that prevent COVID-19 and the lack of widespread, systematic testing of the population.

We believe that we are in a pandemic. Probably at least 40% of you that are infected do not have symptoms. COVID-19 is not like the flu that we’ve had annually. The differences are that you infect people and don’t know that you are doing it because you feel fine, there are long-term effects that don’t go away in a week or two, the transmission is much greater, it doesn’t occur only in the winter, hospitals and their ICU are “full” much more and death occurs for more people.

There are three vaccines available for us to protect against this virus. One has full government approval. They have been shown to prevent vaccinated people from getting the virus and severe disease if they have a breakthrough case. Enough of us in Virginia were vaccinated so that restrictions on masks, travel, etc. were relaxed several months ago. However in our area, the vaccination rate is too low to protect our children and prevent the rapid spread of the virus.

Now the virus has mutated again and the “Delta” version is spreading through our area and the world very quickly. The current vaccines are effective at preventing this new mutation. Those who are older, have more health problems and people who were vaccinated early are now recommended for a booster shot.

We want to retain our “freedom.” To do so, we’re going to be wearing masks in areas where transmission is a high possibility, maintain our hand sanitization and get the booster when it is our turn.

We urge you to be fully vaccinated, wear a good mask correctly (with your mouth and nose well covered so that the air you breath is coming through the mask and filtering against the virus) and wash or sanitize your hands every time that you touch your mask. Remember that the virus will enter your system through your eyes, nose and mouth.

We are hopeful that if you do this, we can enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends safely this year. Even if other localities don’t follow our example, if we get our vaccination rate up and use masks, etc. appropriately for a couple of more months, we will have a freer, more enjoyable winter and holidays.

Irving Epperson, Jr., M.D.

John R. Wine, M.D.

Sharon Chandler, ANP, PNP

Roger Spivey, RPH

J. Cary Bryant, DDS

Kathleen Bryant Seiler, DDS

Joseph S. Seiler, DDS

Walter E. Saxon, Jr. DDS

Denise Williams, M.D.

David Hunt, DDS