Forget what you have heard in the media about COVID-19 as well as the misguided and confusing directives from the CDC. The facts are vaccinations will protect you from serious illness and death.
In fact, unvaccinated folks are five times likelier to get COVID-19 and much more likely to be hospitalized or die.
I know, you don’t want to get vaccinated. And that is your choice, and not only do I respect your choice not to get vaccinated, I also respect your choice to get sick, hospitalized, and die. Yes, vaccinated folks get sick, too. That is true. But most “breakthrough” or “cases of the vaccinated are exacerbated by comorbidities,” the pre-existing conditions that make a COVID case worse” according to The State. DHEC reports that as of August 15, “nearly 28 percent of the coronavirus patients reported having cardiovascular disease, 25 percent had diabetes, 18 percent had asthma, and 26 percent were or are smokers.” Cardiovascular patients account for 60 percent of all deaths from COVID-19 and 45 percent of those who die have some form of diabetes. Age and obesity are also critical factors in your ability to fight COVID-19. As many as 80 percent of breakthrough cases are individuals over 65 years of age.
So, this means you must take responsibility for your own COVID profile. Here’s mine—Age: 56; Vaccinated: Yes; Cardiovascular disease: No; Diabetes: No; Overweight: Low Risk; Smoker: No.
So, let’s put me at low risk for major complications if I contract COVID-19. But, if you are at high risk in these areas, then you must take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
Now, let’s get to masks, because that is what everybody really wants to talk about, especially Mayor Benjamin. The mayor wants to implement another mask mandate this time at our local schools. Why? Because the mayor loves grandstanding on every issue instead of rolling up his sleeves and actually doing something. Steve is on CNN talking about masks when he should be out in the community talking about vaccines. Masks are unnecessary if you are vaccinated and do not provide a direct alternative to vaccinations if you are unvaccinated. So, instead of providing a false narrative on masks, let’s get people vaccinated.
DHEC, the mayor, and our local hospitals should coordinate vaccination sites in the community, at churches on Sunday, and at special events in Columbia—on campus at UofSC, at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first football games, in Five Points on a Saturday, and at our local schools and businesses. At Colite, we are partnering with DHEC for a Vaccination Day September 8 at our facility in the SCRA Business Park. So, please come by and get a shot. Let’s bring the vaccine to the people so the people don’t have to go to the vaccine.
And if the mayor really wants to make a difference, then mandate that all of the City of Columbia employees get vaccinated as well as all of the teachers and administrators in Richland 1 and 2. Quit playing politics with the lives of our citizens that you are supposed to be protecting. Make the case for vaccines, not masks. And this isn’t an anti-mask rant, it is a common sense plea. If you want to wear a mask, then wear a mask. It won’t hurt, but it won’t save your life either. So, roll up your sleeve and “Take the Shot.” Your life probably depends on it.
Peter M. Brown is president of Colite and the former Chairman of the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority.