Danny De Gracia: Go Get Vaccinated So We Can End This Pandemic - Honolulu Civil Beat


About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.


Last week Thursday, America marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.

Our Aloha State has been fortunate to have been spared from experiencing the kind of massive community infections and human losses witnessed on the mainland, but we have all been shaken in some way by this pandemic. Many among us know someone who suffered with a COVID infection, and others still have lost coworkers, friends and family members to this terrible disease.

We know that the local economy has suffered immensely under the strain of shutdowns and diminished travel. We have seen how quickly everything we know and have come to rely on can be swept away in a moment by things outside of our control.

We also must deal with the fact that COVID-19 may have changed the way we live, work and play for the foreseeable future. But as the deployment of vaccines increases and we see better, more involved help from our federal government in fighting back the pandemic, Hawaii residents have good reason to have hope that the worst of this virus may be over and we may be able to start taking back our lives again.

I’ve mentioned in the past a phenomena called the Swiss Cheese model of systems failure where a crisis occurs because all the gaps in government line up to produce an opening that allows threats to breach our normal safeguards or screening protocols. When the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, we had a toxic combination of ignorance, incompetence and lack of preparation at all levels of government, allowing the virus to spread in ways previous epidemics had not.

Some academics have characterized what we witnessed in 2020 as a preview of what an Articles of Confederation-style limited government would be like in the modern era, implying that the Republican White House under former President Donald Trump simply wanted states to have the authority to act in their own best interests or situation. This adds a veneer of policy legitimacy where unfortunately none ever existed.

Pharmacist Davis Zheng gives a patient the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Craigside Place carehome vaccinations.
It’s time to end this pandemic by getting vaccinated. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In truth, we had at the national level a White House run by a malignant narcissist-in-chief, a Congress hobbled by a craven and obstructionist Republican-controlled Senate, and locally, a Hawaii government that wasn’t prepared for any real heavy lifting. All these political factors, combined with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, left Hawaii residents in a kind of public health Red Dawn, where we all stood alone.

Initial models, prior to the implementation of social distancing measures and shutdowns, showed that most of America, if no actions were taken, would be infected by June 2020. We had severe closures for most of 2020 because, initially, we didn’t understand the coronavirus and we needed to buy time for scientists to study it and develop a vaccine or at least some kind of tactics to slow the spread.

Our sacrifices, both in human cost and in economic losses during the stay-at-home orders, all helped to make it possible to now have the vaccines available for public use. President Joe Biden, who has beefed up shipments of millions of vaccines to states and now announced that all states must make vaccinations open to the full adult population not later than May 1, has almost certainly turned the tide of COVID-19 for Hawaii. (Originally, Hawaii was not planned to reach Phase 2 vaccination until summer or later.)

Combined with Biden’s $6 billion in economic assistance to the islands, the federal government has made it possible for Hawaii to start bouncing back into action. The Biden administration has now remedied the two biggest, seemingly intractable problems for the Aloha State by fighting the virus with vaccines and delaying furloughs with stimulus.

The rest of this pandemic recovery is up to us: Hawaii residents need to get enthusiastic and prepared to receive their COVID vaccinations, because the sooner we do that, the sooner things can be normalized.

The Biden administration has now remedied the two biggest, seemingly intractable problems for the Aloha State by fighting the virus with vaccines and delaying furloughs with stimulus.

Now there are some who fear the new B.1.1.7 (UK strain) and B.1.351 (South Africa strain) mutations of COVID-19 may be roadblocks to recovery. There is fear that this may go on forever, and social mental health is starting to become a serious problem. My response to the public is no matter what you see, just go and get vaccinated as soon as you can.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci explained in a White House press conference, existing vaccines offer a “cushion effect” that can suppress or dilute even mutated strains of the virus. Taking the vaccine can mean the difference between having a severe or even lethal case of COVID-19 or a mild, survivable encounter.

You may have friends or family members who are hesitant to take the vaccine because of possible reactogenicity or perceived dangers. Don’t be. Instead, get educated by reading the CDC’s “Myths and Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines” and then as soon as you are eligible, get vaccinated and tell others to do the same.

If you’re looking for hope, don’t pass this over. We have a chance to finally get past indefinite shutdowns and an uncertain future with the disease.

The federal government has given Hawaii all of the tools and resources needed to finish this fight. It’s now up to us, as private citizens, to end this pandemic by getting vaccinated. This is how COVID ends.


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About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.


Latest Comments (0)

The vaccine seemingly will not prevent you from being infected by COVID and passing it on.  If you have not done so already, spend 30 minutes to research information against getting the COVID vaccine and make an informed decision whether or not to take it.  The news and ads make it sound as if the vaccines are completely safe.  

Engawa808 · 4 weeks ago

Not yet...I have grandchildren that aren’t protected yet so I’m gonna wait.There is no end to this pandemic did everyone forget about the other variants that are over the horizon and not to mention the current vaccine might not be able to protect you from the newer variants either.🤦🏻‍♀️

Believeitornot · 4 weeks ago

Good article overall, Danny.  The only thing I would add would be that, our state was not "fortunate" to be spared from increased infection and spread.  Whether intentional or unintentional, the way you used the term "fortunate" implies to me (I will only speak for myself), that we were simply "lucky" that things didn’t get worse.  We were not "lucky" .  Our numbers were kept low because our leaders, despite some early mistakes and blunders, and despite heavy criticism from many, eventually got a grip on the situation and took specific steps to prevent catastrophe.  They shut down when we needed to shut down.  They implemented a tier system to guide us.  And they implemented a travel testing/quarantine program.  Are these systems absolutely perfect?  Certainly not.  Have they worked pretty good?  I think they have.

ckn · 4 weeks ago

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