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Editorial: April 2021

My choice

by Josh Kramer


“I hope and pray that by the time you receive this issue of North Dakota Living, the spread of the virus has subsided, and a sense of normalcy restored.”

That was the closing paragraph from my editorial in last year’s April issue of North Dakota Living. Wow. Much has happened, or perhaps didn’t happen, this past year. I don’t have to go into detail – we all lived it.

I feel a little naïve now, actually, reflecting back on the optimism I held that coronavirus would be a short-term disruption. Just a blip on the radar. And, that things would quickly return to “as they were before.”

My optimism, however, remains. Just hours before writing this editorial, my wife and I received our first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The process was slick. One week prior, we visited www.ndvax.org, selected a location, answered a few questions, and scheduled our vaccination appointments for the next week. The day of the vaccination, we didn’t even have to get out of our car. We drove up, answered a few more questions, and were vaccinated within 10 minutes. Then, we waited 15 minutes to be monitored for allergic reactions or immediate side effects. In 25 minutes, we were out of there with Band-Aids on our arms.

Vaccination is a personal decision. There are varying degrees of comfort and a full spectrum of information available. Admittedly, I was hesitant at first. I was not going to be the first person in line with my sleeve rolled up. And since this space is an editorial, I feel it is important to explain how I arrived at my decision to get vaccinated. I won’t get into the science of it, because I am neither a scientist, nor a doctor. But I do trust those in the medical field and often heed their advice.

I manage employees and lead an organization that supports electric cooperatives. Together, we have the responsibility of providing around-the-clock electricity by maintaining critical infrastructure essential for public safety. This requires a healthy, functioning electric cooperative workforce. As a leader, it is my firm belief that you should never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. My work responsibilities absolutely weighed on my vaccination decision.

What ultimately convinced me to get vaccinated were the thoughts of my family and friends, my wife and kids. Aside from the obvious – getting sick, or worse, losing someone to the virus – I reflected on this past year, particularly the early days of the pandemic. I recalled putting our kids to bed crying many times, because they missed their friends, were bored sick, or disappointed by another cancellation. I understood my vaccination decision wasn’t just about me – it was about keeping the people I care about safe. My family, my friends, my colleagues and my community. And getting things back to “as they were before.”

All COVID-related things are sensitive. I realize I will probably get some mail from folks who disagree or don’t like what I wrote. Please remember this is an editorial – Josh Kramer’s opinion and my story. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine was my choice, and I’m glad I made it.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. Contact him at jkramer@ndarec.com.