This commentary is by John Bossange of Burlington, a retired middle school principal who now volunteers on a number of nonprofit boards in the Burlington area.
I am like most Vermonters. Back in January, when the governor asked us to get vaccinated, I took his request seriously and signed up for my first shot using the state’s website and by the end of February I was fully vaccinated.
Thankfully, thousands of Vermonters have done the same and now we lead the nation with the highest percentage of residents who have had at least one shot of the Covid vaccine.
I received my shots not only for my own personal safety but, equally important, for the safety of others in my family, my community, and for all the people I would come into contact with who work at the places I visit and volunteer. Like most of us, I also wore my mask, and did not want to be a silent carrier of any Covid variant.
Following my second shot of Pfizer, I was issued a Covid-19 Vaccinated Record Card. I trimmed it down to an ID card size, laminated it, and placed it in my wallet, thinking that at some point I would need to show proof of vaccination to enter an indoor facility.
That has never happened here in Vermont.
So the question now is, “Why were we given a card showing proof of a vaccination?”
I would guess that many Vermonters would gladly show their card to enter a restaurant, a theater, a store, or any indoor facility. Knowing that everyone else in that space has been vaccinated would make it a safer environment.
Right now, there is no way of knowing who has or who has not been vaccinated, and for many of us that is very unsettling.
In a state where the culture of community is strong and vibrant, my guess is that the 83% of vaccinated Vermonters would control the narrative around putting the safety of others ahead of a reason not to get vaccinated, and we would not complain about presenting our card at the entrance of an indoor area. Religious and medical exceptions aside, there are no acceptable reasons for any Vermonter to defy the governor’s request and the science behind the vaccine.
To some of those 17% of unvaccinated individuals who seem to have no issue with being an unsafe person in their community, you can exercise your individual freedoms and remain at home, in isolation, in quarantine.
Hopefully you will not become a welcoming, unvaccinated host for another Covid variant to spread, as it has been doing in too many other states. including in ours. Vermonters don’t want to go backward, ending our time with family and friends, and living through another period of a closed economy.
Most of us would wear our masks if asked, and present our ID card to enter into a safe, healthy environment. After all, a Vermonter’s right to stay healthy and live in a safe community supersedes any Vermonter’s right not to get vaccinated.