December 16th, is a most historic day in our state and country. On this day we have seen the highest rate of infection and death from Covid-19 (Sars-Cov-2) since the pandemic started. And make no mistake these are not contrived numbers. 308,143 American are dead due to this infection. Those souls would not have died when they did had it not been for Covid-19. These numbers are mind numbing. These are not made up. There is no economic advantage to “make this up.” I personally have seen 5 patients in my practice slip away due to Covid-19 in the past 6 months. They would still be alive had it not been for this infection. Period. Experience is a tough teacher.

And on this same day I am so excited to see the Pfizer vaccine roll out to most of our communities in Kansas. The Moderna vaccine is one week behind. This is the beginning of the end (of Covid-19). This is our path forward. This is a safe and highly effective vaccine. Yes-there are very rare anaphylactoid reactions. All were appropriately handled and dealt with very timely. No one died as opposed to Covid-19 with 3,000+ death yesterday (a 9/11 event in one day).

And make no mistake about it, these vaccines have gone through rigorous standard Phase 1 through Phase 3 trials, in over 30,000 Americans of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, etc. No fetal cells or questionable adjuvants were utilized to manufacture these vaccines. These vaccines are very safe, and very effective.

Finally, wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask. Even after you’re vaccinated wear a mask. Even if you have had the infection wear a mask (and for sure get vaccinated, too). We still don’t understand “asymptomatic transmission”. So until we hit close to 80% rates of vaccination and or disease, wear a mask. Even former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie advocates for wearing a mask when out in public. But again this only happened after he spent 8 days in an ICU with Covid-19. Don’t wait for experience to be your teacher.

I am so sad that members of my own state GOP want to argue against wearing masks or quibble over data from our state leaders about wearing masks. This is so misleading. It is clear. Wearing masks makes a difference. Argue if you want but you are “dead wrong”. I’ve seen masks make a huge difference in our local college (Benedictine) and school district (409) and in my patients that wear a masks. Wearing a mask is how we keep our economy humming. Not shutdowns, not closures. Wear a mask and go about your business. For me this is how we live out our Christian Faith by “loving our neighbor as yourself.”

On Dec. 17 as a physician I will receive the Pfizer vaccine. I will get my second booster on Thursday, Jan.21, 2021. I will get this vaccine to allow me to successfully and SAFELY continue to work in our Covid-19 contact outpatient clinic. I encourage all my patients, friends, church family and immediate family to follow my lead and voluntarily “get the shot”, when you can. Don’t hesitate.

God bless all of you at this Christmas season. The future Is Merry and Bright.

John R. Eplee, MD ABFM

Staff member of Amberwell health State Representative of District 63

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