As we enter our third year of COVID-19, it feels like there’s no end in sight. We now know what protects us: vaccines, boosters, face masks and testing. But to stop the development of new variants and the disruptions, suffering and deaths they cause, we need to invest in one more tool: vaccinating the world.
After all, no one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe. The effectiveness of vaccines is a modern miracle, but they are useless without robust investments in vaccination — getting shots into arms.
According to CARE, a humanitarian organization supporting COVID-19 vaccination programs, at a minimum it costs $11 to vaccinate a person — but these costs can double per person in complex regions like South Sudan. Investing in effective delivery doesn’t just mean cold chain technology or syringes; ending this pandemic requires investing in front-line health care workers, vaccine educational campaigns, the strengthening of health care infrastructure and personal protective equipment to keep health care workers safe.
The Biden administration, alongside our allies, championed a commitment to vaccinating 70% of the world; achieving this goal requires additional funding now to meet needs. COVID-19 knows no borders. The time is now to commit to ensuring equitable vaccine distribution, lest we continue risking American lives and the American economy with each new variant.
With this virus, no one is safe until everyone is safe. And as the wealthiest country in the world, we need to push our government to commit to robust funding for these vaccines.
— Jill Gordon, Chicago
Consider a vaccine mandate
Why hasn’t Chicago Public Schools initiated a vaccine mandate for all students 5 years and older, teachers, and all employees and contractors who work at or provide services at the schools? Of course, medical and religious exemptions would be honored. California has such a mandate. The vaccines could be available at the schools in addition to other vaccination venues.
I taught at the secondary and community college levels for 26 years. I had an obligation to teach my students well but not to risk my life. Students have an obligation to do their best to learn, but they also don’t have one to die, even if the risk is lower.
— Rafael San Juan, Chicago
More reading among kids
I am a lifelong educator — 15 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Chicago schools, and then 40 years as an educational publisher — and I have a suggestion.
Clearly, remote learning as a substitute for the in-school experience has limited value, but how about introducing a powerful concept: reading! One of the most significant activities students can engage in on their own for their growth is reading; books, magazines, newspapers, online articles, anything that involves reading. And reading for pleasure helps.
Would an alliance between schools and Chicago’s libraries be possible for a massive book distribution? Even if the formal curriculum is diminished somewhat, turning the “limited” educational activities at home into an opportunity for engaging students, which could even enhance lifelong learning skills, would be worth it.
— Bernard Berkin, Highland Park
Wake-up call to cruelty
Thank you for printing the op-ed (“Mass killing of farm animals through ventilation shutdown should be stopped,” Jan. 7) by the CEOs of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and and the Humane Society of the United States about the inhumane method — basically, suffocation and overheating — used to kill thousands of pigs and chickens because of slaughterhouse disruptions during the pandemic.
And this, incredibly, is allowed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, but practically nowhere else in the Western world. We entitled city residents and suburbanites need more such wake-up calls on where our food comes from, and the suffering and cruelty that regularly occur in the industry.
I hope the AVMA awakens its conscience and at the very least reclassifies the practice of ventilation shutdown as “not recommended” as Matt Bershadker and Kitty Block have called for the group to do.
— Marcia Morman, Park Ridge
Adam Kinzinger’s chances
Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger announcing he’ll forgo a run for the Senate or governor of Illinois is like me announcing I’m going to pass on a trip to the moon. Neither has any chance of happening.
Kinzinger would have to run as a Democrat to have any chance of winning.
— Jack Higgins, Oak Brook
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