It’s Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves
2020 has been a difficult year. Even if you remember other hard years – this has been historic. We could never have imagined how devastating COVID-19 would be.
2020 has been a difficult year. Even if you remember other hard years – this has been historic. We could never have imagined how devastating COVID-19 would be. People over 65 years of age, especially those in long term care facilities, were the hardest hit, and suffered early and devastating loss of life – not just in Connecticut, but all over the world. Globally, 70 percent of people getting sick from COVID-19 are over 65 years of age.
One of the many advantages of getting older is that you get the chance to be part of history over and over again – sharing insight with every new generation.
Amazing things have happened in the last 50 or 60 or 70 years! If you are an older adult and grew up in the United States, you may remember the Empire State Building going up, Jackie Robinson playing his first game in the Major Leagues, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, or the beginning of fast and easy travel by airplane. If you grew up in another country, you will remember landmark events there as well.
Some of you have lived through even harder times than now– wars, starvation, economic collapse, political upheaval, segregation and the Holocaust. And of course, the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Here in Connecticut, many remember the floods of 1936 and 1955 that sent factories and homes into the swollen waters, swept barns off their foundations, sending cows bobbing down the Connecticut River, or the 1944 Hartford Circus fire that killed dozens of children and adults. We have been through hard times.
If you lived during those times, you faced them with grit and strength – and you survived. You learned from it all, gaining knowledge and strength. Knowledge, strength and accurate information are key now. We want to make sure that you have the facts and can make an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccination.
You may remember a time when people smoked everywhere, when cars did not have seat belts, when no one even considered wearing a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle, and when children died from measles, mumps, small pox, tetanus, polio, rubella and whooping cough.
Now, in 2020, people are safer in cars and on bikes, fewer people smoke because we know it is bad for our health and, most importantly, we don’t lose children to those awful diseases because of the miracle of widespread vaccination.
We know there are many questions about the vaccine. If you or your family members are living in long-term care, how did you feel when it was announced that older adults would be the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19? Did you feel relieved and honored? Or did you feel that once again, someone was making decisions for you or your family members? Did you know where to go to get the facts about the vaccine?
We believe medical professionals looked at where the vaccine could make the biggest difference in the fight against COVID-19, and older adults and those who care for them were identified as the priority.
Now, here’s the truth:
- We don’t know everything about COVID-19, but we do know that people die from it, and with a vaccination, we have the chance to conquer it.
- There have been times in American history when the government made mistakes in public health and people suffered, but they have learned, as we all do, and have developed safer ways to combat diseases.
- We don’t know everything about the vaccines, but we do know that they have been thoroughly tested and approved using proven science.
- You have the right to participate in all of your health care decisions.
- You have the right to talk to the people who help you make health care decisions and choose the best decision for YOU!
- The vaccine requires that you get two shots, spaced about a month apart.
- The vaccination might hurt a little the day you get it, just like the flu shot.
- We hope you choose to accept the vaccine as the science has shown us that it is the best chance to keep you safe and healthy.
Many of you have faced so much, stood up so many times in history. Older adults have fought wars, sacrificed, survived horrible events and extremely challenging times. We want you to continue to show the world how strong you are. Show them you are willing and able to listen to facts and determine what is right for you. We hope with factual information you will feel comfortable to get in line when you are eligible, roll up your sleeve and take a shot that could help put this pandemic behind us all. Your grandchildren and their children will be proud to say that you were part of ending this terrible pandemic.
You might still have questions and if you do please reach out to get the FACTS.
And as always, please pass this information on to friends and family.
This article was written by Catherine Blinder, chief education and outreach officer of the Department of Consumer Protection of the State of Connecticut. To learn more about how the Department of Consumer Protection can help, visit us online at www.ct.gov/dcp.