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Mike Barnhill

Ashland

Dear Editor:

We in Missouri pride ourselves on the state slogan "Show Me." Missouri is considered a rural farming state by a majority of the other 49 states. The very common view of "If it runs, don't fix it" runs deep in our rural thinking. This view of hesitancy to accept change seems to explain why we use the slogan "Show Me."

Vaccine hesitancy is now the biggest barrier to ending the pandemic, said Sam Baker on Axios.com. While the pace of vaccinations is still strong, it will drop soon: Demand is already slowing enough in parts of the South "to create a surplus of available doses." That's a worry, because the longer the virus keeps spreading among the unvaccinated, "the more opportunities it has to mutate." And the more it mutates, the greater the risk that a shot-resistant strain could emerge, making "this virus a part of our lives longer than anyone wants."

If there is any doubt that the virus can mutate and cause further harm and death, we only have to view the TV news focusing on India. America is now sending ventilators, oxygen and medical supplies to assist India in helping disaster relief. If America isn't careful and just assumes the virus danger is over, we are fooling ourselves. It only takes a few mutant virus patients to spread the new virus like it did in early 2020.

If we Missourians take our state slogan seriously, then there can be no doubt that India and all its many funeral pyres are "showing me" that complete vaccination for all of us is of the utmost importance. Don't wait until the virus is at your doorstep to prove your hesitancy is incorrect. Correct the tendency to compare mechanical adjustments as in "If it runs, don't fix it" to medical adjustments such as "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Take the shot.

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