By Lynn Venhaus
I don’t mind putting my mask on again to follow public health rules and private business restrictions, but I resent the selfish anti-vaxxers who have doubled down on being against the shots, following gross misinformation, and creating a dangerous situation for the vulnerable population in this war against the coronavirus pandemic.

There are people, who for medical reasons, can’t take the vaccine, which I understand, and there are people not old enough yet, but to blindly cling to false rhetoric is infuriating and mind-boggling.

And those in opposition are extremely belligerent about their refusal to ‘take one for the team’ — and themselves. They are going to get people killed. Do they have a death wish as well?

We can’t return to whatever passes for normal if cases rise, and they are at an alarming rate. During 2020, we had such economic hardships and further divides in politics, not to mention the loss of life, that people would be sensitive to what’s best for the greater good. The cheerleading “We’re all in this together” didn’t work, which is disturbing.

I know I am preaching to the choir. I know the people who need to hear this will not.

The Delta variant is deadly. Missouri numbers are forcing us into another crisis — numbers have surpassed the winter peak. Currently, 97% of the new cases are unvaccinated people. 83% of new cases are the Delta variant.

Have these last 16 months not shown us the importance of fighting this deadly disease? In the U.S. alone, we have had 608,000 deaths — and 34 million cases, and it does not discriminate. If we don’t take precautions now, we will have to return to previous emergency rules. And who wants that?

The vaccine has proven to work — if you have questions, talk to your doctor. Seek out reliable sources. I had the J&J one-and-done — it was simple, have had no issues. If I have to get a booster shot down the road, so be it.

Public health officials are making it so easy and accessible for us. I know people who went outside of St. Louis to get their shots — Cape Girardeau, Hannibal, Rolla, Columbia and Mexico, Mo., in early spring — just because they wanted to be safe, particularly those considered high-risk. Pharmacies provide shots, and clinics are still active. There isn’t any roadblock if you want to get the shot, you can get it.

As one who had COVID-19 in mid-January, thankfully a mild case, but has lingering post-virus fatigue syndrome, I urge people to get vaccinated.

I took the oral polio vaccine as a child in fourth grade. We went to a public school gym one Sunday afternoon in November 1963, where it was administered. I don’t recall people saying, “nope, I’ll take my chances.’ Same goes for the childhood vaccines for smallpox, measles, mumps and whooping cough. I had a painful case of shingles in January 2017, and wish I had taken that optional vaccine as an adult. Having shingles was like ripping off a band-aid while being stabbed in the side.

If you think we should have control over our health, then getting the shot is liberating. I am happy to return to the movie theater, live performances and going to restaurants, and being able to hug my 89-year-old uncle at his assisted living home.

Because of the quarantine in New York City, I hadn’t seen my youngest son Charlie, a cancer survivor so high-risk, in 1 year, 6 months and 11 days until he visited last week from Brooklyn. We sacrificed for the greater good. He finished his Pfizer shots in May and then our work schedules and my health issues prevented earlier travel.

Society has asked us to step up, to do our part. Yes, this is America, land of the free — but also home of the brave, and we have to suck it up and be courageous because a global pandemic has created a public health emergency. To scoff at medical science is Russian roulette. Rules are in place to protect us. I really don’t understand this disconnect.

Please ignore Tucker Carlson and Fox News. Those talking heads have been vaccinated. Owner Rupert Murdoch was vaccinated. Former President Trump and his family are all vaccinated. Why this has become a political issue, I don’t understand. COVID-19 doesn’t care what you believe, how much you make, who you voted for and where you go to church.

What I do know is that hospitals are getting taxed to the max, and health care workers are exhausted.

Save your life and the people around you. Love thy neighbor.

Photo: Me getting a vaccine at a local community center on March 28, 2021.

Dispatch from the Hills is a personal column written by Lynn Venhaus, which started in quarantine in March 2020, first as Dispatch from the Island, living in Soulard, and now from residence in St. Louis Hills.