Newsmaker of the Year 2021: The Vaccine 

 In News

The first headline of 2021 in The Creemore Echo read, “Vaccines roll out to health care workers.”

Since then, there has barely been a week go by without an article about the regional response to the pandemic and the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. No matter how many times we vowed to put out a COVID-free Echo, it didn’t happen. 

With very few exceptions, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner has been doing weekly media updates, enforcing messaging about public health measures and the importance of vaccines and calmly and professionally answering an endless stream of questions about matters beyond his control. 

Early in the year, the UK variant was threatening a third wave, and by April a stay-at-home order had been issued.

By summer many people had received two doses of the vaccine and were feeling quite a bit more confident about going to work, and taking in social events after the province began to re-open in early June. In the Hollywood version of our memory, people were skipping down the street, greeting neighbours with open arms, calling out “I’m double vaxxed!”

By August, The Echo headline read, “COVID-19 cases on the rise as fourth wave hits.”

The emergence of the Delta variant did not cause a full shutdown but came around the same time as the vaccine passport, which limited access to non-essential services, including restaurants and entertainment venues.

Now, here we are at the end of 2021 and the new Omicron variant has now resulted in travel bans. Students have been told there is a possibility they will not be heading back to school after the Christmas break, and the future looks as uncertain as it did in March of 2020. 

There is now a rush to get third doses, or boosters, of the vaccine into arms, hoping the added protection will safeguard against the variant. 

So here we are, almost two years later… 22 months of face rashes, chapped lips and “mascne.” Even health officials are saying that they are surprised by the length and intensity of the pandemic so we hope there is an end in sight. C’mon 2022, don’t let us down.   

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