Idaho students are back to their classrooms — a welcome transition for students and families across our state.
Our main defense in ensuring the new school year is entirely in-person — free from outbreaks and quarantines — is the COVID-19 vaccine.
The highly contagious delta variant is circulating in our communities and hospitals are filling up again with COVID-19 patients. This time, though, the patients are almost entirely unvaccinated people.
Our students need to be able to learn in their classrooms with their teachers and peers. We can give our kids the best chance at a normal school year if more Idahoans choose to receive the vaccine.
Just over half of Idaho’s adult population is vaccinated, with the greatest share of those vaccinated over the age of 65. I want to thank the close to 800,000 Idahoans for choosing to protect yourselves, your loved ones, our economy and our students by making that choice.
I understand there are many who simply will not receive the vaccine under any circumstances, but there are also a lot of others who are on the fence about receiving the vaccine.
To those friends and neighbors of ours waiting to receive the vaccine, the time to get the vaccine is now — when our students are going back to school.
We can minimize or eliminate disruptions in the delivery of education, as well as sports and extracurricular activities during this school year if more Idahoans choose to get vaccinated.
Our younger population — children under age 12 — cannot receive the vaccine, and they need us — the adults — to make the right decision now so they can stay well and have a productive, successful school year.
Parents of 12- to 17-year-olds are also encouraged to have their children vaccinated. Your child’s pediatrician can help if you have questions about the vaccine.
Two hundred million Americans have received the vaccine safely. The risk of death or serious injury is extremely low. By comparison, the risk of death or hospitalization from the COVID-19 disease is much, much higher, and it’s growing.
While dysfunction persists in the Biden White House at the national level — with failed approaches on the border crisis, Afghanistan and the pandemic — Idahoans here at home can control what happens in our schools and our communities by choosing to receive the vaccine and giving students our best shot at keeping them in school.
Now is the time to choose to receive the vaccine.