OPINION: Getting vaccinated is one way to have an impact



Check-in papers and a COVID-19 fact sheet greet Sedgwick County residents at the COVID vaccination site in downtown Wichita.

I know what it looks like – I’m your average 20-year-old “College Girl.” But what many don’t see, at least on campus, is what I do for work and the sheer number of people I interact with daily. 

A year ago, in April, I took a job as a cashier at the grocery store not far from my house.

If you asked me to estimate how many people I interact with daily, on average, the number must be over 150 people every day, not including co-workers or fellow employees. It depends on what department I’m in; the front end is different from pick-up, which is different from general merchandising or floral. 

But each person is a chance to have an impact. 

When it came to me choosing to get the COVID vaccine, it was these people I thought of, many of whom I’ve gotten to know over the year while others I already knew – a danger of working in the town you have lived your entire life.  

It was also one very specific desire that developed over the past few months. 

I don’t know why – maybe it’s the loneliness, or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t see anyone other than my parents and co-workers on a scheduled basis – 

but there is this desire deep down in my heart and the back in my mind to be able to sit across from someone in a coffee shop or talk to them in the aisles of the grocery store. 

Even if this vision never came true again, and I had to settle for ZOOM and social distancing for the rest of my life, it would be incredible to see someone smile again. 

I suppose, maybe it isn’t just that. 

Maybe it’s also the people that I’ve met through work, the people I’ve ‘reconnected’ with or simply seen again for the first time in a long time. And the Senior Citizens. 

Even if you can’t relate to my reasons, consider who in your life you have not seen in months, maybe since pre-pandemic times. How would they react if you told them that you had your vaccine and it was safe to see them in person again over coffee, tea, or at the park for a chat? 

Who is it that no matter what you do and when you do it, you hear their voice and their wisdom in your mind?

Do it for that person, for those people that are closest to your heart or are most impacted by your actions. 

Jackie Robinson said, “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” 

This is your chance to make an impact and create change. 

I know my reasons for getting the vaccine. I do not yet know the magnitude of my impact, and I may never live to see the full impact of my actions. 

We may never know how the individual act of getting vaccinated will change the future for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We only see today and know today, but we can change tomorrow, one action at a time.