This pandemic has ravaged the United States for what seems like an eternity, but is close to reaching a year in duration. Just in time for Christmas, both Pfizer and Moderna have had their vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer’s vaccine boasts a 95% efficacy and Moderna’s vaccine has a 94.1% efficacy rate. They are both excellent signs that this pandemic might soon be over.

The sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner the thousands of lives lost each day to this virus will stay with their loved ones. Unfortunately, just as everything else that has occurred in the pandemic, the vaccine has become another political debate. Many have made it clear that they are going to refuse any vaccination because of their beliefs in personal choice. For them, it is another way that the government is trying to control us.

The majority of the time, I strongly disagree with Vice President Mike Pence’s actions. Yet, I commend him for publicly taking the vaccination. As one of the leading figures in the Republican Party, he has a moral obligation to lead them to do what is right. He has the ability to lead the citizens of the United States to participate in doing the right thing and get vaccinated.

It is his own supporters that so strongly fear the vaccination, so seeing him do it should encourage them to do so. It is extremely important that people get vaccinated as fast as possible. The less potential spreaders we have, the less people there are to get infected. Something that people from the beginning have failed to understand is that you can carry the virus and spread it before even having symptoms, just like the common cold. When you come into contact with someone who is sick, you do not feel ill within a few minutes. It is not until a day or two that you begin to produce symptoms. The virus we are faced with now can take up to two weeks to produce symptoms. You can come in contact with countless amounts of people in the course of just one week, so you put all of them at risk of getting infected.

All of the disagreements about this vaccine can really be shut down in one sentence: There is no point in complaining about the problem if you do not want to participate in the solution. Over 200,000 people are becoming infected with the virus and thousands are dying from it each day. Even though all of the guidelines are meant to restrict the spread of the virus and are there for our safety, they put a strain on our lives. I have friends who have had to miss many valuable days of school because they came into contact with an infected student and it placed a lot of pressure on them to stay caught up. It is sad to have football games with limited attendance and not being able to do many of the things you used to do.

It is all a bad situation, but are you even willing to change it?

Miguel Arceo is a student athlete at Sebring High School.