Vaccines are path to pandemic’s end

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2021

It’s not unusual for Isle of Wight County to lead the way in Western Tidewater. By most any measure of economic vitality and public health, Isle of Wight tops the region’s rankings.

Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised to see our community setting the pace for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Reporter Jimmy LaRoue tells us elsewhere in this week’s edition that 43.3% of Isle of Wight residents have received at least one vaccine dose and that 31.6% are fully vaccinated. Those numbers are significantly better than comparable numbers for Suffolk, Southampton County and Franklin, even as the region lags statewide percentages, unfortunately.

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We commend local citizens who are doing their part to ensure that virus-related restrictions on people and businesses are steadily lifted, such as Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to follow new Centers for Disease Control guidelines for facial masks at outdoor events.

“The CDC’s recommendations underscore what we have said all along — vaccinations are the way we will put this pandemic behind us and get back to normal life,” Northam said last week. “Our increasing vaccination rate and decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases has made it possible to ease mitigation measures in a thoughtful and measured manner.”

Northam also updated his executive order to allow up to 1,000 people to attend outdoor sporting events. The governor said he expects to further ease capacity limits in mid-June if state health metrics stay stable and there is a continued increase in vaccinations.

More than 3.7 million state residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, making up about 57% of the state’s adult population, and 2.5 million, or 39% of adults, are fully vaccinated.

While Isle of Wight’s percentage ranks highest in the region, more progress is needed. In order to reach so-called herd immunity, 70%-80% of the population must get vaccinated, experts say.

Every vaccine in an arm gets us closer to being done with this pandemic. It can’t come fast enough.