“Through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Stonerise Care Blog

It’s Vital to Get Vaccinated

By Larry Pack, Stonerise CEO

This first appeared in the Jan. 21 edition of The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

For the past 11 months, no matter who or how old you are, where you live, what you believe or what you do, defense has been the only option in the fight against COVID-19.

While defense remains essential — wearing a mask, physical distancing and maintaining healthy hygiene — the game changed on Dec. 12, and again a week later, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized two COVID-19 vaccines that are now being administered to health care providers in and beyond West Virginia.

As the leader of a transitional care company with nearly 2,000 patients and 3,000 employees, this is the news we’ve been waiting for, and I’m grateful to public health agencies for clearing the way so our patients and caregivers could have access to the vaccine at the same time.

You’ve probably seen information about how these vaccines use technology that’s been in development since 2005, how they’ve been tested in tens of thousands of individuals (including older adults) and the minor side effects that can result from the vaccine helping your body create COVID-19-fighting antibodies.

The COVID-19 vaccine is our chance to go on offense. It is the first opportunity we’ve had in almost a year to start getting back to being who we are as West Virginians and as Americans. It is a light at the end of a dark tunnel that provides immense hope for ending this global pandemic.

We’re strong and independent. We have a history of using our strength and independence to work hard, to take care of our families and to support our neighbors.

We are used to taking action, and then celebrating our successes or mourning our failures in close company with our loved ones.

COVID-19 stole that proactive, can-do attitude from us. Fighting this virus has meant fighting all of our natural instincts about what to do when our backs are up against the wall. Stay home? Stay out of the fight? Settle for a phone call instead of a big, loud family meal? That’s not who we are, and that’s why all of this has been so hard.

We’ve had to face one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime, and we’ve had to do it in a way that just doesn’t feel right.

It needs to be said that the COVID-19 vaccines will help us be ourselves again. They’ll allow us to follow our instincts to unite and face this virus, as well as future challenges that may come our way. They’ll help us stand up and respond — because that is who we are.

I was proud — and relieved — to see my 82-year-old mother, who is a retired CAMC nurse, receive the vaccine. My wife and our adult children have already assured me that, when it’s their turn in line, they’ll sign up to receive it, too.

I hope you and your family will strongly consider receiving the vaccine and telling others why you’re doing it. Let’s fight this pandemic head on. Let’s get back to being us.

For the latest information on vaccine distribution, visit the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources website.