When I was given my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in my home community of Selkirk, I was in and out in less than 40 minutes. This brief moment out of my day will have a long-term impact, for which I’m truly grateful. I know the vaccine is the only way forward to protect myself and my family, colleagues and community.
My situation is similar to many Manitobans. I’m a husband, father and most recently a grandfather. At times it’s essential that I go into my workplace. Everyone I interact with needs me to do my best to protect them, and that means following public health orders while limiting face-to-face interactions and time away from home.
I plan every trip to purchase food and necessary supplies for our home and farm. On days I work in-person, I go in with a mask and start virtual meetings from the isolation of my private office.
I’m a highly social person, so the shift has been hard. Meeting people through a screen is different — it’s difficult to read people, and humour falls flat across Zoom calls. It wasn’t natural for me to start wearing a mask, but now it’s my normal.
I miss my family and friends, and the many fun things we would do together. I look forward to a time when we can return to normal daily life, though that seems like a distant target during this third wave we’re experiencing. Like many of you, last year I believed this pandemic would be over by now, but I was wrong.
I encourage everyone eligible to take time to get vaccinated. I farm cereal and oilseed crops in East Selkirk, so I know how hard it can be for my fellow farmers to pull themselves away from the fields, especially now, when the pressure is on to get crops into the ground.
But we need to prioritize the health of our families and communities above farm work. The farm will be there tomorrow, but our family members are irreplaceable.
Please be cautious and patient. I am sure we can beat this thing if we remain vigilant and disciplined. It’s easier to say these words than commit to them, but I know we will prevail.