letter to the editor

Vaccinations, wearing a mask still vital

If you are vaccinated, you are still not safe. Do not let your guard down. The problem? The unvaccinated have picked up the Delta variant. It is highly transmissible. The war has changed. The Delta variant is more contagious than Ebola, just as contagious as chicken pox.

Just a little over 50 percent of Knox Countians have chosen to get vaccinated. Therefore, you don’t know if the person in line next to you at your grocery store is shedding the Delta virus or not.

Now, how does this impact those of us who are vaccinated and are in good health? Well, suppose you have a loved one who is immune compromised as I do. Suppose that family member is vaccinated. That person gets sick, and you take her to the ER. Guess what? At the ER, they ask you if you are vaccinated. If you say yes, they do not test you. They try to figure out what is causing your particular symptoms and send you home with no clear answer. Your immune-compromised loved one gets sicker.

You take her to the ER once again: different day, same treatment.

Finally, after at least 10-to-12 days of illness, while your immune-compromised loved one has exposed her co-workers and her family members because everyone thinks, “She’s vaccinated. She’s safe,” she suddenly loses her sense of taste. Now it’s becoming clear. She takes the COVID at-home test purchased at your local drug store, and it’s positive for COVID.

Now we know it’s not the alpha variant we were fighting last year because she’s vaccinated; it’s the Delta variant, the more highly contagious virus.

Now, your loved one is sick at home, struggling with complications because she is immune compromised; has called 911 not once, but twice because she has allergic reactions that are undefined. She receives treatment. No one can figure out what she is reacting to. But we know she is immune compromised.

And then, the final blow: you, her only caregiver, suddenly realize you, too, are infected.

This is my story. I’m in my third day of symptoms (as I write this); I’m experiencing them as they change from day to day and wondering how bad it’s going to get, wondering who did I expose before I tested positive. And I am trying desperately not to infect my spouse, who so far has not tested positive.

It did not have to come to this. The vaccine works, but it cannot protect you from the Delta variant. Now we are facing a new fall/winter season and you can be sure it’s going to get worse. We are going to be in a full-fledged pandemic, and the unvaccinated are going to die. The vaccinated are going to suffer, and the immune-compromised vaccinated are going to get sick, and suffer — suffer greatly; and hopefully, my daughter will not die.

If the majority of residents had just gotten the vaccine, we would not still be talking about mask wearing. This issue should never have become politicized. It is common sense. Look out for yourself, for your loved ones — including the children who are too young for the vaccine — and look out for your community. Be a part of the solution; don’t be a part of the problem. Reconsider getting vaccinated if you are still unvaccinated, and do not stop wearing a mask in public.

Mary Phillips, Farragut