Guest commentary: Rotary district leaders respond to the vaccine reluctance

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 13, 2021

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By Bob McLean, Tom Gump and Ed Marek

Rotary International Tri-District Governors

Rotarians across the Upper Midwest are delighted with the increased COVID vaccination availability. However, we are concerned vaccination reluctance and a premature easing of masks and social distancing could impair our communities’ ability to push past the pandemic.

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Our confidence to stay the course stems from a legacy of awareness and fund raising for the eradication of polio through vaccination. Rotary has helped to reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.  As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, our members support the distribution of polio vaccines and highlight their power and efficacy, a critical reason why polio is on the brink of eradication worldwide. Disease prevention and treatment is one of Rotary International’s seven global areas of focus.

Healthcare and community leaders throughout the region are working with Rotarians to provide education about Covid vaccine myths and facts. It is estimated it will be necessary to vaccinate 70 – 80 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity. During the coming months of rollout, vigilance against variants with their increased transmission rates means continuing to mask, social distance, follow healthcare directives for group gatherings, and practice hand washing.

We are all eager to return to more normalcy in our lives, and we are seeing clear signs of hope with the expanding Covid vaccination campaign. We encourage everyone to stay the course and be vaccinated when it is your turn. Please encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. We like to say, “This shot’s for all of us!”

To learn more about Rotary and our commitment to polio eradication through vaccination, or to contact us about speaking to community groups or media, please visit us on