COVID-19 is still here. For nearly a year and a half, all of us have made sacrifices to one degree or another. We have chosen to sit out family gatherings, graduations and reunions. We have opted against going somewhere for vacation, in order to keep this virus at bay and protect ourselves and our loved ones. Through it all, we have managed to make some strides against the coronavirus, but it still does not seem to be enough.

Earlier this year, breakthrough vaccinations were made public. Some require two shots, others only need one. We started to see the number of people with the virus start to level, and then drop. Our hospitals started to report lower numbers of people on ventilators. The number of deaths from COVID was dropping.

And then, suddenly, all of this started to change…again.

If you look at the numbers from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, we started to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in early June. Officials there say the delta variant is partially to blame for this surge. At the same time, health officials all over the country are seeing the same type of increases, along with another similarity: the bulk of new COVID cases are among people who have not been fully vaccinated.

I made the decision to get a COVID vaccination. No one forced me to do this. I was not threatened by the government to do it. For me, it was the right thing to do, not only for myself, but for everyone around me. Getting the vaccine does not make you immune to the virus. It does, though, add a layer of protection that could make the difference between a long hospital stay or death.

Getting vaccinated is also easy to do. People can visit www.MOStopsCovid.com to get the facts about the vaccines and how to get registered for a vaccination. I encourage anyone who has not yet received the vaccine to do so as soon as possible. We want to beat this virus and return to the life we knew before it. The time has come to take back our lives.

As always, please feel free to call, email or writ with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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Originally Appeared Here