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The end of the pandemic is in sight; to get there, go get vaccinated

With the news on Tuesday that all COVID-19 restrictions except the mask mandate will be lifted in Pennsylvania on Memorial Day, we were excited.

But not as excited as hearing about what we’ve been seeking since the beginning of the pandemic — a clear, defined goal that will lead to the end of required mask wearing.

During Tuesday’s announcement, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said when 70% of people age 18 or older in the commonwealth have been fully vaccinated — meaning they’ve received a one-dose vaccine or both required doses of a two-dose vaccine — the mask mandate will disappear, too.

Our question to those who haven’t yet gotten a vaccine is this — what are you waiting for?

With a large number of people in the country vaccinated already, and a tiny number of major side effects reported among those who have received shots, the rewards of the COVID-19 vaccine — specifically that you won’t get a potentially-deadly infection from a serious virus — outweigh the slight risks associated with getting one.

And now that getting vaccinated will help get us all where we want to be sooner — a world without masks — there’s even more incentive to do it.

We know some still are distrustful of vaccines in general, or this vaccine specifically. We know some have believed this whole time that COVID-19 has been overblown for political or other reasons, if not an outright hoax.

But the virus is real and has wrought real and lasting damage on our society. Just ask the people whose businesses have been severely hurt financially or closed permanently due to COVID restrictions. Just ask the people who count on large gatherings to make ends meet. And just ask the people locally who have lost one or more loved ones to this horrid affliction.

We all want this to be over. Getting vaccinated gets us there. And the sooner we can get there, the better.

Do your part. Get the shot. You and everyone else will be glad you did.

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