COVID-19:  The Light in the Distance 

A year. We have endured beyond what we could have imagined in February 2020. You have risen to the occasion, time after time, call after call. We just can’t say enough about the endurance, patience, and compassion of the people in this community. We grieve for those we have lost despite everyone’s best efforts. Click here to remember Suzan Mucka who passed away in January.  Vaccination has finally brought us hope that the pandemic will end. We still don’t know how long this will take, so we must remember to take good care of each other and keep each other supported and safe. 

Vaccination. We are so proud of the Aspire community. The news is full of stories about delays and challenges with the vaccination roll-out across the country. But we have had a successful series of clinics, vaccinating everyone who’s wanted a shot so far. Throughout the Aspire community, people pulled together to make the process run smoothly and to protect as many people as possible. If you chose to get vaccinated, we thank you. If you are still hesitating, we understand your concerns and hope that you will continue to think about it. Nationwide, nearly 40 million people have received at least one vaccine. Still, we have a long way to go. Approximately 260 million people, or more, must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and ease the pandemic.

Aspire’s final clinics are scheduled for:
MA: Feb 24
NH: March 8 
MD: March 9
CT: March 12

Currently, the FDA is reviewing the application from Johnson & Johnson for their new 1-dose vaccine. While the data show the vaccine is less effective than those currently available, it may be much easier to actually get into people’s arms. It doesn’t require special storage, and a large number of doses could be made available quickly. Once the Aspire clinics are complete, unvaccinated folks still have the option of signing up as they meet eligibility criteria at public health vaccination sites and medical practices that are ramping up. Be aware that outside of our clinics you will need to qualify based on your work responsibilities, age, or medical conditions when these are authorized over the next few months. Current projections show that the general public may not have access until late spring or early summer. 

OMG – STILL? Sad, but true. We still have to mask up, disinfect, and social distance. We will be doing this until there is herd immunity. The threat remains. New variants of the virus that spread more easily may cause another spike in the spring – so wear the best mask you have or double up.  Vaccination prevents illness, but may not prevent spread. Social distancing protects those who are still vulnerable to severe illness and slows transmission in the population. This is important, as increased spread means more opportunities for the virus to continue mutating. And more illness and death. We are all tired of these restrictions, so let’s encourage and help each other stay the course. Together we can do it.