It is easy to be afraid of the wrong things.

Many people have been hesitant to receive vaccines in recent years because of misinformation that was widely spread, and due to unfounded beliefs that there is some better alternative to the protection vaccines provide. This also plays into the troubling new culture of seeing facts and reality as a matter of opinion in the U.S.

If you are fortunate enough to be offered a chance to take the vaccine to protect yourself against the COVID-19 virus, take the vaccine!

Did we say protect yourself? It is not just a matter of protecting yourself. It is a matter also of protecting friends and loved ones around you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

“COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials,” the CDC reports. “The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization…”

“Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.”

People who take vaccines do sometimes experience mild symptoms such as a slight fever, chills or soreness. These symptoms are a small price to pay for the protection the vaccine provides against the ravages of the illness which has killed millions worldwide. Mild reactions show that the vaccines are doing their work, helping you build up your immune system to fight of the full-blown illness.

Professional health care workers at the vaccination sites will monitor you during and after the vaccine to be sure there is no immediate allergic reaction. These reactions are rare and can be treated effectively.

If you received the vaccine, talk to friends and relatives about the experience. Help them understand the benefits versus potential dangers of vaccine hesitancy.

We must continue to get the message out: Vaccines are safe and they protect us.

The sooner the vast majority of us are vaccinated, the sooner we can return to some semblance of normality; to gathering for events, visiting friends and family, going out to do shopping and enjoy pastimes without fear.

Trust the science and your local doctors and hospital staff and take advantage of the advances we are fortunate enough to have. Countless generations in the past suffered for lack of vaccines and other medical breakthroughs (though certainly we have had vaccines a long time).

When you make your decisions based on the information available, consider the source. Do you trust the CDC and medical community, or do you want to put the health and safety of family in the hands of political interests and conspiracy theorists on social media?

Bravery in the fishing community

As with many of our stories, we find again and again that Midcoast Maine is a place with a sense of community.

We saw it this past week as local fishermen in the Port Clyde area went out in their boats to help the Coast Guard, Marine Patrol, other local agencies and Good Samaritans search for a lost fisherman. Often, our local fishermen will put themselves and their boats out in stormy weather to help rescue or recover a neighbor.

Unfortunately, in this case, there was a tragic loss in the community, but we commend the fishing community for helping one of their own, and hope this spirit continues for many years to come in this area.