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Dear Editor,

Last week, several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives visited our border with Mexico and got very worked up about several things they were told or shown, including that some people trying to get into this country were released into local communities without being tested for COVID-19, and were found to be positive.

(Homeland Security Secretary Alejandros Majorkas says they don’t release anyone without a negative test. Both could be true, because people can test negative one day and positive a couple of days later.)

But whether or not some people were released because of overcrowding, I see one good thing coming out of this: Weren’t many of these same Republicans recently claiming that COVID-19 is no big problem?  Didn’t some claim they were setting a good example by not masking or taking other precautions?  (Rep. McKinley was not at that press conference in Texas.  I don’t know his opinion on this.)

COVID-19 brought in from abroad isn’t significantly different from COVID-19 that was already here.  But if focusing concern on migrants and refugees allows those Members of Congress to admit COVID-19 is a problem, that’s progress.

Recent polling changes the picture we thought we knew of who is reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19: African-Americans now want more chances to be vaccinated, while Republican men are most likely to say they won’t get a shot.  (Most of the latter probably don’t know that the ex-President they think they’re following, and his First Lady, got their vaccinations in January while he was President.  Time for a spring cleaning of your mind.)  I haven’t seen this polling data broken down by States, so it may not be true in WV – but I wouldn’t be surprised.

If you’ve already had COVID-19 (as ex-President has), you have even more reason to follow his example in this one way: your first vaccination counts as your second – in fact it’s better than that, provides broader protection. Consult your medical provider about when to get your shot.  (If it’s been months, you may be late.)

I got my first COVID-19 vaccination March 12th.  (Would I have liked to have information not yet available?  Of course.  But I know enough.)  My arm was a little bit sore, hardly noticeable.  When I get the second shot, I’m likely to have some fatigue for awhile.  Some will have a different experience.  But if you think the vaccine is inconvenient, you probably wouldn’t like getting the disease.

(There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the vaccines, ranging from simple lack of information to surreal and bizarre.  Covering how we get misinformation or how to recognize good information goes beyond vaccines and could fill several letters, so I’ll just say the U.S. actually does very well at double-checking vaccines.)

Jim Lowther

Auburn, WV