Dear Editor,

A vaccine was recently approved for emergency use. If you want our lives to get back to some semblance of normal, please plan to take the vaccine when it becomes available. Unless a significant number of us do, the pandemic will continue to plague us and take our lives.

Yes, the vaccine was developed in record time, but that is something that needed to happen. Back in 2004, I joined a colleague, Jim Turner, in introducing HR 4258, The Rapid Pathogen Identification to Delivery of Cures Act. One summary describes its purpose this way: To promote technological advancements that will dramatically reduce the time frame for the development of new medical countermeasures to treat or prevent disease caused by infectious disease agents or toxins that, through natural processes or intentional introduction, may pose a significant risk to public health now or in the future.

Our bill went nowhere, but thankfully, the process to achieve its purpose did, and here we are with these and other vaccines becoming available for a previously unknown virus in less than a year.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Advisory Committee in Immunization Practice and the independent reviewers have held firm, ignoring the politics and adhering strictly to science.

Further, with England starting to vaccinate last week, we will be able to gain more information and hopefully more confidence from their experience.

In the meantime, all of us must continue to wear masks or face coverings properly, wash and/or sanitize our hands and surfaces frequently, observe physical distancing and stay away from crowds.

I will be taking the vaccine when the phase I am in comes, and I urge you to take it too!

— Donna M. Christensen, MD; St. Croix