Letter to the editor,

The Franklin Memorial Hospital COVID-19 vaccine clinic recently surpassed the 20,000 doses given mark. This means that more than 10,000 of you have walked through our doors, trusted our care team to guide you through the process, and received a potentially life-saving vaccine. And for that, I thank you.

Deciding to get the vaccine has been challenging for some. For others, it was the light at the end of the dark tunnel that came just in time with hope for a return to normalcy. Whether you were an early-adopter, or have just recently decided this was the right thing for you, thank you.

By getting vaccinated, you are caring for yourself, caring for your neighbor, and consequently, caring for our entire community. You play an essential role in keeping the risk of infection low by contributing to an immunized population. Ultimately, your decision to vaccinate is protecting everyone— even those who are yet to be vaccinated and those who never will. Thank you.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen an alarming increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations in a much younger, more rural population. This younger population has much lower vaccination rates, increasing their chances of contracting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill. At Franklin, we are working in our own clinics and with our local school districts and community partners to help increase the vaccination rates among those ages 12 and up.

Please, if you have not yet been vaccinated, I encourage you to reach out to your trusted primary care provider with any questions and concerns. Misinformation is readily available, and finding the facts can be hard.

If receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is not the right decision for you, then I urge you to continue to follow the health and safety guidelines set out for unvaccinated folks and do your part to help keep our community safe and healthy.

Thank you for your trust and support of Franklin through this challenge. It is a privilege to be this community’s health care system.

In good health,

Trampas Hutches

President, Franklin Community Health Network

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