Cheshire appears to be winning at the only game that matters at the moment.
As Chesprocott Health District announced recently, the Town is doing one of the best jobs in the entire state in getting those eligible for the vaccine their shots. A 12% rate ranks towards the top of all municipalities, and it is a testament to the hard work of Chesprocott staff and the volunteers who have dedicated hours of their personal time at the clinics where these vital shots are administered.
But the process needs to be speedier, and state officials need to begin laying out the framework for a return to normalcy. People need to know that the vaccine equals a chance to get back to something closer to the life they had in February of 2020, not the one they have in February of 2021.
As officials from Chesprocott have stated, the virus is by no means beaten. Outbreaks are still being reported. Most of the new cases are seen in people who, as it was explained to The Herald this week, have expanded their social bubble in recent weeks and months.
This was and is to be expected. The people who are doing this do not lack for information. Expanding social circles is not the result of ignorance but, rather, what happens when one is asked to put life on relative hold for months at a time. With many of the normal avenues for social interaction cut off, people are going to begin seeing each other — more of each other — and there’s nothing officials can do, short of effectively criminalizing social gatherings outside of one’s immediate family, to stop it.
That’s why getting the vaccine shot into as many arms as quickly as possible is so important. Yes, there should be safeguards put in place to make sure the shots are administered effectively, and of course there need to be priorities set when it comes who is eligible for the shots. But wherever the process is bogged down at the moment, state leaders need to make sure it gets loosened up. Whatever might slow the process down needs to speed up. Cheshire, thanks to the hard work of Chesprocott and others, is doing a great job of inoculating the public. They need to be given the tools and the opportunity to do more.
When it comes to convincing those who are hesitant about the vaccine, education is essential. Yet, what’s also required is a sense that this is all leading to something — a return to life as we knew it. There have been too many signals sent of late that, despite the fact that millions are receiving their vaccine every single day, not much is expected to change; not next week, not next month, not in the next several months.
That’s a bad message to send, even if it’s being done to temper expectations and convince people to stay vigilant in their precautions.
From the beginning of the pandemic, people have been asking, “What’s next?” The answer too often has been “We don’t know” from state and federal officials. As this publication has stated time and again, it is understandable that leaders don’t want to get ahead of their skis by making promises now that the pandemic may force them to break later. But that doesn’t mean a road map for the next few months, complete with all the caveats that come with not knowing the future, shouldn’t be offered.
The arrival of the vaccine was, for many, like waking from a bad dream to see a ray of light shining through the window. Those blinds need to be opened fully now, and whatever authorities need to do to make sure vaccine distribution increases, it must be done.
Give people an idea of what happens next. Doing so may help to convince some to get a shot they’re currently reluctant to take, while also encouraging everyone to hang on just a little bit longer.