By Tom Patterson, Nodaway County Health Department administrator

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19, declining case numbers and hospitalizations, and relaxing of restrictions go hand and hand. The last one follows the others. And this reminds me of an idea I had early in the pandemic that it was pretty rough walking up this thing, that it could be a little uncertain walking down the backside.

We encourage you to continue practicing precautions. These are well known by now: social distancing six feet apart and wearing a mask where you can’t, practice good hygiene especially hand washing, and stay home when you’re sick.

I will ask us to please be supportive of each other. When we are asked to practice precautions or when around others who are practicing precautions, respect that. Show each other common courtesy. Also, realize that some businesses and organizations may be working with guidance from corporate, state, or other outside influences so let’s support them too.

Getting vaccinated will lessen the burden of disease and drastically reduce transmission of the virus. It will decrease the risk we pose to our most vulnerable and high-risk family members, friends and neighbors. This is all the more important as many have carried the virus unknowingly while others have experienced severe illness and even death.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing either the two-dose series or single dose option. Those fully vaccinated may appreciate comfort in knowing it’s safer visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks and visiting unvaccinated people from another household without masks when none are at increased health risks.

I believe there is a saying about not being able to measure the unknown. I would expand on that to say we will never fully know or realize the number of illnesses we prevent by getting fully vaccinated. I would encourage you to take advantage of the additional layer of protection it provides, and take a positive step to protect your health. Please consult with your medical provider for specific questions regarding your health.

Also, let’s not forget any who may be living alone without assistance. Let’s check on them, even if you choose not to be vaccinated yourself. We have had many people help others with attending the clinics. If you know of anyone with language barriers, or any barriers of any kind to getting vaccinated, please let us know.

To sign up for the Community COVID Vaccine Clinics in Maryville, or call 660.562.2755. These are collaborative vaccine efforts with partners MOSAIC Medical Center-Maryville and Northwest Missouri State University, held at Hughes Fieldhouse. You can also contact one of the local pharmacies for vaccine availability. For Missouri vaccine information, including statistics and map of vaccinators, visit Missouri’s COVID Vaccine website at