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Mayor Jenny Wilson: Getting vaccinated now is the path to a better summer

SHARE Mayor Jenny Wilson: Getting vaccinated now is the path to a better summer
A health care worker gives Carlos Ramirez a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination event in Utah.

Health care worker Nadia Swanson, left, gives Carlos Ramirez, right, a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination event at Reams in Magna on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

Two shots (or in some cases, one).

Two shots and two weeks to wipe away fear, anxiety, and isolation.

Two weeks ago, just two days after the announcement that 12-to-15-year-olds were eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, I took my 15-year-old son in for his first dose. He is the last of four in my immediate family to receive the vaccine. I feel better! I’m excited about summer when last year I just wanted to fast forward time. I now feel less afraid, less anxious, and more connected. I want this for every resident in Salt Lake County.

For those not vaccinated and for whatever reason may be hesitating, there is a choice in front of you. I urge you to choose the path that will not only support the return of our community to whatever the talked about “new normal” is, but the path that will give you the peace of mind I will soon feel for my family when my son hits the two-week period after his second dose.

Our health and medical professionals have provided evidence that the vaccine is safe. The CDC reports that millions of people in the U.S. have received vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. Serious issues are extremely rare (a handful in millions of vaccines administered). Low risk, huge upside.

Families manage risk every day. That’s smart. My sisterhood of county moms know what I am talking about. My 15-year-old is learning to drive. Yikes. You know what I mean. My son played football for a few years and luckily dodged the head injury risk. We drive. We play. We live.

This risk is worth taking. This is low risk. And the upside is immeasurable.

If you make an appointment at vaccinate.utah.gov, call the helpline at 385-468-7468 (SHOT) or walk into Mountain America Expo Center, Maverik Center or any of our outreach clinics, in two weeks you can feel the initial relief I feel as a mom with a fully vaccinated college kid and one well on their way.

For those like me who didn’t hesitate and are vaccinated, please talk to your friends, family and neighbors, and share your relief. Offer to help them schedule and drive them in. Every two, 20, 200 and 2,000 people vaccinated is measurable progress towards our community’s recovery.  

Two months from now is mid-summer. If you act now, all family members older than 12 can take off their masks with no concern and we can end our summer with a celebration. And we can start the fall off strong in school with all activities for our kids resumed. I expect the vaccine for those under 12 will be available by then and that in itself is pivotal.  

Two years from now, I pray that the COVID-19 pandemic will be in the rear-view mirror, and we will be better as a community. That our stress, anxiety, and isolation are memories that remind us how much the little things in life matter. That our families are stronger than ever, that as hard as COVID was we further value our immediate connections as well as our community and the special things it has to offer.  

Two shots (or one) that can change everything.

Jenny Wilson is the mayor of Salt Lake County.