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Doing our part out of concern and love

By Chris Quilpa

I had my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine lately at The First and Finest, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, where I used to work for over a decade and eventually retired. After 21 days, I’ll have my second dose.

With my teacher-wife, who drove me to NMCP and who has already completed her two COVID-19 vaccine shots weeks ago, courtesy of her school, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all who have made things possible for the COVID-19 vaccines to be available and accessible to all eligible recipients. I thank all frontline healthcare workers for caring, helping, and inspiring to keep us alive, safe and healthy.

Having done a little research about COVID-19 vaccines, prior to getting my first dose, I anticipated to have a sore arm, hours, if not days, after the shot. It’s beneficial to be informed about the vaccines.

I know some, if not most of us, have questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. We have doubts and fears, too. There’s apprehension; there’s hesitancy. That’s understandable, from the perspective of a healthcare provider. If you have concerns and questions, call or visit your doctor. He or she can help you with your health and well-being, and other medical issues that you may have.

And, of course, we have choices. That is, either to have the COVID-19 vaccines or not. But, if we come to think of the situation we’ve been in for over a year now since the coronavirus outbreak became or was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, don’t we desire our life to be back to normalcy? I’m sure we all missed a lot of the events, celebrations and activities that we used to do. We look forward to the future, with complete healing and recovery, new insights and innovations to fight and treat diseases and to make our life, our world and environment safe and healthy.

We’ve never expected our world to turn upside down. We’re aware, saddened, and fearful that millions of lives were lost and many, under the watchful care and round-the-clock treatment and supervision of our healthcare workers in hospitals and clinics, medical centers and treatment facilities, are still fighting, struggling for life. It’s too painful, and beyond imagination, what and how the victims of COVID-19 have gone through, while clinging on for life. Their families couldn’t visit their loved ones. Amid the ongoing pandemic, our life conditions and situations became difficult and different, and the world’s economy took a nosedive. Together, we’re all affected and devastated. All aspects of our life (physical, social, mental, spiritual, economic, cultural) were tested.

Doing our part together as world citizens, with faith, hope, and belief in science and technology, out of concern and love for our families, friends, others in the community, we will overcome this pandemic and other crises in life.

As members of the human race, we have an obligation and responsibility to take care of each other in order to survive, thrive and succeed. Hence, our life on earth depends on each other. We believe no man is an island.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Portsmouth. He can be reached by chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.