Up & Coming Weekly

December 15, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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8 UCW DECEMBER 16-22, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JOHN HOOD, Chairman of the John Locke Foundation. Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 OPINION Will you take the vaccine? by JOHN HOOD Despite the current spike in CO- VID-19 infections and deaths, there is good news on the not-so-distant horizon. ree effective vaccines are in the pipeline. Some North Carolin- ians — those battling coronavirus on the frontlines as well as those put at greatest risk by infection — will being vaccinated in the coming weeks. When vaccines become more widely available, will you be among those who get the shots? A large share of the general public won't say yes, at least not yet. According to a late-November survey by the Pew Research Center, 29% of Americans said they would "definitely" get vaccinated if the vaccine were immediately available. Another 31% said they "probably" would. at's a majority, yes. But with 39% saying they would definitely or probably reject it, there are grounds to wonder whether enough people will get vaccinated to establish the herd immunity required to get us past the pandemic stage. ese are countrywide findings, admittedly. But North Carolinians appear to be, if anything, even more skeptical than the average American. In an October study by Elon Uni- versity's survey team, only 37% of registered voters in our state said they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine, with 36% saying they wouldn't accept it and the rest unsure. I think it is possible these poll re- spondent aren't being entirely honest — or, to put it another way, that they aren't accurately predicting how they will feel when the opportunity for vac- cination actually arrives. Some Democratic-leaning North Carolinians who are suspicious of the Trump administration's Opera- tion Warp Speed project to speed the approval and distribution of vaccines may be more willing to get their shots when a different president is in the White House. And some Republicans who tended to downplay their risk of contracting COVID-19 during election season may alter their perceptions of the risk for the same reason, because the political climate has changed. Moreover, as December turns into January, and winter into spring, those worried that vaccine development was unsafely rushed during 2020 may get more comfortable with the final product. Millions will already vac- cinated by then, likely with few or no side-effects. at will be reassuring. Still, if we want some semblance of normalcy to return to our economy, our communities, our households, and our personal freedoms, we cannot afford merely to assume that vaccination rates will be high. To the extent some of our fellow citizens maintain a deep suspicion of medical providers and drug manufacturers, or continue to see the vaccination issue through partisan lenses, our leaders need a well-planned, sustained cam- paign to respond to their concerns. at's why three former presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — have volunteered to get their shots in front of television cameras. at's why Hollywood and Madison Avenue are getting involved. We need different messages for differ- ent audiences, addressing the differ- ent sources of public skepticism. at skepticism isn't limited to a single group. For example, the Pew survey revealed that 69% of Demo- cratic-leaning voters said they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, vs. 50% of Republican-leaning voters. at's a partisan gap, to be sure. But that still leaves lots of Democrats in the "no" camp. Indeed, Pew also found that Afri- can-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, are far less likely to say they'll get vaccinated (42%) than are whites (61%), Hispanics (63%), and Asians (83%). Widespread vaccination will be nec- essary to put this public-health crisis behind us. It's the main way we'll save the businesses, jobs, and community institutions threatened by the virus itself and by the cumbersome regula- tions governments have enacted to combat it while vaccines were being developed. Even so, I believe neither that we should use force to get everyone their shots nor that such a recourse will be necessary. While the vaccination rate must be high, it need not be 100%. Some individuals have real health conditions or adverse immune-system responses that merit special consid- eration. But for most other objections, I think persuasion will be a proper and effective response. Let's begin. Dear Fayeeville Community, Hope you and your family are doing well in these challenging times! Twenty- ve years ago I was privileged to be oered a position to join the medical practice at Fayetteville Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I was welcomed by both the community and the providers. Over the course of my career, I have felt well supported and have been able to care for the wonderful people in this area. It has been an honor to be considered a trusted provider to you and your family, some of you for three generations. At Fayetteville Gastroenterology Associates, the admiration for this community that I carry with me is largely due to the willingness of the people that allowed me to serve them here. My retirement from Fayetteville Gastroenterology is met with both sadness and excitement. Although it will be painful to leave the practice I have called home for most of my career, I nd that myself, my wife Usha, and our two sons are looking forward to being a little closer to our Cary home area. It has been a privilege caring for you ALL. Fayetteville and my patients have taught me more about life and love than I knew I was capable of carrying and for that, I will forever be indebted to you all. December 31, 2020 will be the last day I can call myself a provider at Fayetteville Gastroenterology Associates, but I know that part of me will always be able to call Fayetteville "home." I would like to thank the sta at Fayetteville Gastroenterology Associates, Fayetteville Gastroenterology Endoscopy center and GI unit sta at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, who all were intrumental in helping me provide the best possible care for my patients, as I would not have been able to do this without their help and support over the years. As this date approaches, I just wanted to reach out to you ALL and show my appreciation for your loyalty to me as your provider. I did not want to leave without you knowing that you all have impacted my career in ways you will never know. ank you ALL for trusting me with your care and I wish you ALL the absolute best. Sincerely, Valli P. Kodali, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.G., A.G.A.F.

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