Rosemary Alpert, contributing author
The global pandemic has altered our lives in extraordinary ways. We’ve learned to adjust, as best we can, finding ways to stay connected and keep going during unprecedented circumstances. As we begin to move forward, we welcome opportunities to receive the vaccination and reconnect. We have the potential to re-engage with deepening awareness and cooperation. Together, respectfully sharing our gifts as we progress forward.
Last week, while welcoming close to 1,200 community members immediately after receiving their first vaccination, I thought about how far we’ve come and still have to go. Looking into the eyes of our community, seeing hope, relief and sincere gratitude. With each vaccination, we are making progress, slowly and steadily. This is a monumental task and takes strategic daily planning from Skagit County Public Health to move our community forward in a healthy, safe manner.
During this time of transition, it is vitally important to remember that we still need to be vigilant: wear our masks, socially distance, wash our hands and continue to support one another with kindness and consideration. This is not the time to let our guard down, but to remember what we’ve learned.
Let us take a moment and acknowledge how far we have come since last year. What are the lessons we learned? What are the unexpected gifts we experienced? What will we take with us as we move forward?
I asked the team of amazing vaccinators these questions; here are some of the responses:
- “I’ve learned how important and preventative wearing masks are. We’ve had a drastic decrease in the flu this season because of this practice. We must continue to wear our masks, even after being fully vaccinated.”
- “Each time I administer a vaccine, I feel like I am injecting hope into each person.”
- “I’ve experienced people are more forgiving.”
- “This time has given me an opportunity to step up, show up and be fully present for the community.”
- “Fills me with hope.”
- “I’ve learned how to really look into someone’s eyes.”
- “Together, we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible.”
- “I’ve learned to slow down, be more patient and appreciate the moment.”
- “Grateful to be a part of the team of community all-stars! I will never forget this.”
- “Realized how important it is to take each day as a gift and opportunity to be kind.”
As more community members become eligible to receive their vaccination, we must remember how important it is to be considerate and patient. We still have more miles to travel as we maneuver through this collective journey. Let’s not regress backwards.
Remember to stay in touch with updated information from reliable sources. Check Skagit County’s website for vaccination availability and information related to COVID-19. For us to move forward, we need cooperation from our entire community, each of us doing our part. If you know of someone who is seeking their first vaccination and does not have a computer, Public Health has a hotline dedicated to scheduling first vaccinations. Call the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 360-416-1500, option 1 for English, 2 for Spanish.
Each day, while overseeing the post-first dose “Observation Space” at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, I share important “public service announcements.” Most importantly, reminders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends the following to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
- Stay six feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
Together, we will move forward, slowly and steadily.
Welcoming in a new norm, where we engage with healthy practices and consideration to support our entire community. Spring welcomes new growth and opportunities to embrace hope.