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Highland - March 23

Paula Campbell
Posted 3/23/21

When I was a little kid, my older brother Fred got polio very badly when he was about eleven years old.

The polio virus is extremely contagious, and Fred was completely paralyzed, and the …

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Highland - March 23


When I was a little kid, my older brother Fred got polio very badly when he was about eleven years old.

The polio virus is extremely contagious, and Fred was completely paralyzed, and the government posted huge yellow quarantine signs on the trees around our house and that time was referred to as the “Summer Without Children” because the polio virus is mostly a pediatric disease infecting kids under five years of age or anyone who is unvaccinated.

During that epidemic, 3,200 died and 21,000 were left with mild to permanently disabling paralysis. The Covid-19 lockdown was the second quarantine I have lived through. Since my dad was a doctor and my mother a teacher in the Boston school system who “wasn't having it” at all with my brother being so sick my parents went to war against polio invading our family life.

With the assistance of medications and rigorous daily physical therapy, my brother recovered and as a nineteen-year-old was able to pass his physical to enlist in the Navy-just like my US Navy veteran Dad.

Now I am completely vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine against Covid just like everyone got the Salk vaccine starting in 1954 and pretty much eliminated polio with no cases reported in the US since 1979 and only 441 cases worldwide last year mostly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. So, I am a believer in the efficacy of vaccines.

Last week I drove my friend Theresa to the Sullivan County Community College to get her first vaccine shot. (For some extra sparkle-did you know that Gene Simmons the co-founder of the Band Kiss and a noted entrepreneur and writer is an alumnus of SCCC earning a degree in Secondary Education?)

Thankfully, the location had plenty of signs on the campus roadways and Dan Hust the Director of Communications for the County did a nifty video for the County website which I watched several times on how to successfully navigate the serpentine roads to get to the fieldhouse location.

Once entering the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse, the operations and setup ran as smooth as silk with very friendly and accommodating staff and volunteers.

I also had some time to speak with Dr. Bruce Ellsweig, the Sullivan County Medical Director for Public Health, who was at the vaccination site and monitoring the wellbeing of those who had been vaccinated or getting vaccinated to assure no one had any adverse reactions or problems.

Theresa and I got there at 11:25 am and after having our temperature taken, appointment check-in, getting vaccinated, scheduling her second shot, and sitting in the recovery section for fifteen minutes we were back in the car by 12:05!

What was very welcoming for many of the older visitors were the staff and volunteers who cheerfully guided everyone along to the next stop in the process.

While the SCCC location is not exactly a hop, skip and a jump from the Town of Highland, it is a nice easy ride and the vaccination location run by the County is very efficient and not the least bit scary.

According to Nancy McGraw, Sullivan County's Public Health Director, just over 1,000 Covid vaccines are being distributed at the SCCC location every week. Several pharmacy locations in Monticello require that you sign up for their pharmacy program (Walgreens) and some CVS drug stores do not have the Vaccine Verification Cards available which may be a problem with more talk of “vaccine passports” for travelers or anyone who needs to verify that they have been fully vaccinated.

Thinking back to the terrible polio virus epidemic that happened in the 1950's soon after the end of World War II when all Americans united against a common enemy and pulled together and got vaccinated and eliminated the polio virus, we find ourselves in similar circumstances during the Covid-19 epidemic.

So once again we need to pull together as Americans and citizens of our ever-shrinking world and when it is your turn to get the vaccine take the shots and help kill off covid-just like we did with polio- and save countless of thousands of lives and keep us all safe in the future.


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