“Public health” is a term we’re hearing quite a bit these days – and frankly, there’s little wonder as to why. With the U.S. still contending with the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID cases on the rise in many parts of the country, there’s no denying that we’re dealing with a long-term public health hazard. As such, it behooves all of us to do everything in our power to set a good example for friends, relatives and other people in our lives who have habitually regarded public health as an afterthought.
Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Given the ready availability and proven effectiveness of the currently-available COVID-19 vaccines, you have no excuse if you’re still walking around unvaccinated – unless, of course, you suffer from a medical condition that makes vaccination inadvisable. Furthermore, unlike virtually everything else healthcare-related in the U.S., the COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge at an extensive number of pharmacies and medical facilities. So, regardless of where you happen to be based, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting vaccinated.
Even if you like to frame not getting vaccinated as a matter of “personal freedom,” it is imperative that you realize your decision doesn’t just affect you, but everyone with whom you interact. While you may not be concerned about what will happen to you if you contract the novel coronavirus, you’ll still need to consider the well-being of the people you stand to infect. Again, the vaccines are free, accessible and an absolute boon to public health. So, if you still haven’t been vaccinated, there’s no time like the present to rectify this.
If vaccine-hesitant friends or family members see you getting vaccinated, they’re liable to follow suit. This, in turn, may not only save their lives, but prevent multiple infection clusters. Parents should also be aware that children aged five and up are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Stay Current with COVID-19 Boosters
Even after getting fully vaccinated, you’ll need to stay current with COVID-19 boosters. Given the rapidly expanding number of COVID-19 variants and the staggering number of unvaccinated Americans, booster shots are absolutely necessary. As of this writing, adults who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines can receive a booster at least six months after their primary series of shots. Furthermore, adults who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen can receive a booster at least two months after receiving their primary shot. Keep in mind that future boosters will likely be necessary, so make a point of keeping up with COVID-19 news from reputable sources, like the CDC and WHO.
Keep Wearing a Mask in Public
Even with the Omicron variant tearing across the U.S., many citizens are still walking around maskless, and many businesses are refusing to reimplement mandatory masking for customers. So, regardless of whether or not the businesses you frequent are requiring patrons to mask up, you’d be wise to continue doing so. Yes, not having to wear masks anymore was a powerful incentive for many people to get vaccinated, but with new variants surging and unvaccinated individuals refusing to take common-sense precautions, venturing into public spaces without a mask is still ill-advised. As an added bonus, seeing you continue to mask up may encourage people who have recently put away their masks to start wearing them again.
Contribute Time and Resources to Charitable Causes
Regardless of where you hail from, odds are there are numerous local charities that will welcome any help they can get. Donation banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters are just a few of the places that can always use any time and/or resources you’re willing to put forth. Additionally, blood and platelet donation can be a great way to help immunocompromised individuals, as well as people dealing with urgent medical emergencies.
With COVID-19 now entering its third year as an active threat, public health has become more vital than ever. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of people setting bad examples. In addition to placing their health at risk, these individuals are endangering the safety of the people around them – and, by extension, society as a whole. Given how many bad examples are being set, it is incumbent upon responsible citizens to set good examples and do their part to protect public health.