As Kansas finalizes the COVID-19 vaccination rollout through the phases, I think it is important to remember that coronavirus will still be around.

Many people are skeptical or refusing to get the vaccine, due to some interesting reasons. As someone who has spoken to various hospitals, doctors and other health professionals - I plan to get the vaccine.

All the healthcare professionals have expressed a great sigh of relief to see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel appear brighter and brighter everyday. However, we will still have to wear face masks, social distance and continue practicing proper hygiene because of people refusing the vaccine and countries who have not received any dose of the vaccine.

We need to empathize now greater than ever. As my father just received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 6. To put it lightly after he had to move a COVID patient that died in the middle of the Emergency Room at the hospital back home because there were no intensive care units available due to a large spike in positive cases, it was an easy decision to get vaccinated.

As someone who has family members who have diabetes or are in the high risk age range, I want to get vaccinated to be able to see my family members outside again. It is an easy answer after talking to people who have witnessed first hand the horror of the pandemic.

My father had to see nurses cry after holding an iPad for loved ones to say goodbye to those closest to them in the hospital. I do not understand how some people can continue to undermine the effects of the virus on people, mentally and physically.

The atmosphere of the hospital back home having patients die every day for a month straight was something my dad could barely speak of without going silent. I could feel the sadness in the air as he opened up to me about what he witnessed.

I feel that it is easy for students to undermine the virus. We are young, we are fairly healthy. It is easy to not feel scared of the virus for ourselves when the chances of us passing away are very unlikely compared to our grandparents, parents, or friends and relatives with underlying health conditions.

I get it. I can sympathize with you.

H o w e v e r , we need to be smart about this - together - to get better about this. I understand the social aspect greatly. I want to go to large social

gatherings and meet new people, live my life as a 21-year-old, but I cannot. I want to, but I cannot -and I will not - as I kept my granny and aunt close to my heart and in my mind.

I am masking up and socially distancing for them, what will you do?

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