Choosing to get vaccinated or not is truly a personal choice, but please remember that no man is an island unto himself; each man is a part of the main.

If humans can choose to truly isolate themselves and not have any contact with any one, that would be ideal for those who say I am not going to get the COVID-19 vaccination. But most times, the ones taking that stand are the very ones who want to enter every store door that has opened and every restaurant and breathe their selfish virus on other people.

Being a vector (new word for the dictionary) is something each person should be concerned with. Are you hanging around or living with people whom you would not mind being the cause of their death?

I have quite a few individuals in my circle of family and friends who, for various reasons, are neglecting to get the vaccine.

When I witnessed the landing of the first plane carrying vials of vaccines to be shipped out to 50 states, I was overjoyed — but had a tinge of sadness for those who had died unnecessarily. My heart went out for the families who are still subject to losing thousands of loved ones every day. The vaccines bring hope that will spring eternally.

As I was rejoicing, I was not aware that so many in my circle were saying “I am not going to get one.” COVID-19 is real and is still very much alive and well. Not only that, but COVID-19 is reproducing little ones faster than female rabbits can produce little rabbits. The variants are here. Georgia was one of the first states to get the UK variant and now our state has them all.

I reached out to my oldest grand, who had already recovered from COVID-19 as well as her parents. She said that she had decided not to get the vaccination. I finally convinced her to stop listening to rumors and protect her family. She finally said “OK, Grandma, I will get it.”

Convincing my oldest grand was the easiest. Some are so far out in left or right field that I did not have a line long enough to reach.

What can you say to an individual who says “They plan to give all of us Covid-19”? Or “They are putting chips in all of us so that they can keep tabs on us”? Or “The government plans to render all of us sterile”? None of them say “I am afraid of being a vector.”

It is OK to be fearful of the needle, or just apprehensive period when it comes to the unknown. After a long back and forth with my goddaughter — so much so that I had to take a break — I received the note below from her. The last statement that I remember saying to her was “It is not for you.”

The battle with myself

Since the beginning of COVID-19, I battled with myself to follow all CDC guidelines to protect myself, family, friends and my extremely innocent students. You see, I am a married mother of 8 children, and I have 3 grandchildren. I am a Pre-K teacher, and I am involved in many community and social organizations. I am fearful about becoming ill, after hearing of so many lives that have been taken by COVID-19.

Hearing of the vaccines that help stop the spread and lower the risk of hospitalization and death made my anxiety rise, because I do not even take a flu vaccination. In my mind I am thinking, “They (whoever ‘they’ is) want us to take this shot to give us COVID-19.”

After an encouraging word with my mentor, lifeline, and godmother, I was convinced that I must overcome my fear and get vaccinated. She even offered to come with me if I needed her support. I thanked her for being my role model.

I thought about my life and how I want to live and not die. She made me understand that if we are going to trust in God, we can’t pick and choose when to trust him. We must trust him in all things. I prayed, I cried, and I battled with myself. I came to the conclusion; I must get vaccinated. Not only for myself but for my family, friends, and my little students.

I was vaccinated on April 9, 2021, at the Community Kitchen in North Rome, with my husband holding my hand. After taking the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination I felt accomplished that my battle with myself was over. I will still wear my mask and follow CDC guidelines of social distances and be a role model to others to encourage them to get vaccinated.

My dear reader, just make it plain that it is not for you but for others. Each of us does have the right to choose serious illness or even death for ourself — but not for others. When we choose not to protect ourselves, that does not give us liberty to get in the space of others.

I am hoping that my goddaughter will use her influence in her circle by simply reminding those around her that “It is not for you” and it is not even about you. Your inaction is making it about other people.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright, founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award recipient. She can be contacted at artsnow2019@gmail.com.

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