Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.

Peter Zuyus

Peter Zuyus

Seniors of Alaska has had the pleasure to work with Dr. Anne Zink and caring Alaska legislators statewide to encourage vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. A majority of senators and representatives from both parties across the state have joined together to encourage Alaska senior citizens and Alaskans in general to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.

As the pandemic heightens and illness and deaths increase, it is important for all Alaskans to consider vaccination and for all legislators and public officials to encourage vaccination. On the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak, area Sens. Peter Micciche and Gary Stevens with Rep. Louise Stutes have joined Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink to encourage senior citizens and all Alaskans statewide to get the COVID vaccination.

There are legislators and public officials who refuse to encourage vaccination, have an anti-vaccine agenda and apparently have no empathy for those facing illness or the devastating effects of a horrible death of family members.

Hiding behind false bravado and mythical beliefs, they will carry the burden of knowing they turned their backs on the illness and death of their constituents. It will be their burden for life, as a grim reminder of the price that their “failure to care” carries.

Seniors of Alaska asks that all Alaskans, regardless of political preference, join us and thank those legislators and public officials who have stood up for the health of Alaskans rather than pandering to misguided self-interests.

On the Kenai Peninsula and the Kodiak, Cordova and surrounding communities, Micciche, Stevens and Stutes, Homer Mayor Ken Castner, South Peninsula Hospital CEO Ryan Smith, South Peninsula Hospital Board President Kelly Cooper and assembly candidate Dawson Slaughter all have joined to help save Alaskan lives in the Homer area and statewide. Local District 31 Rep. Sarah Vance was asked to join the program to encourage vaccination to save lives. However, she declined.

Messaging efforts worked for senior citizens, who have a vaccination rate of over 70% and the lowest infection rate. The most serious of the COVID-19 illness is now among the unvaccinated, and Homer is a hotbed. Please follow the advice of our elected officials and the example set by our seniors, the leaders of our State Senate, Legislature and local hospital, and “Get the jab.”

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.

The team at Seniors of Alaska and the Senior Citizens of Alaska also thank you for your efforts and concern for our seniors and the health and well-being of all Alaskans.

Peter Zuyus is executive director, Seniors of Alaska, and a retired technology executive and former chief information officer for the State of Alaska. Seniors of Alaska is a nonprofit organization consisting of Alaska seniors and established to represent Alaska senior citizen perspectives and to guarantee their equitable treatment by municipal, borough and state agencies. For more, visit www.seniorsofalaska.org.

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