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Beauty in Belmont by, Delleny Molisani

Jones Memorial Hospital CEO Eva Benedict: Please Get Vaccinated!!


While we can see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, we will be feeling the devastating effects of the pandemic for years to come. The best and fastest way to get “back to normal” is through widespread vaccination. Allegany County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in New York State. I urge you, please step-up and do your part for public health: Get Vaccinated.

Since March 2020, over 200 patients have hospitalized at Jones Memorial with COVID-19. In addition, more than 80 Allegany County residents have died from the virus. Add in the isolation that residents of nursing homes and inpatients at hospitals have endured as well as the struggle by local businesses to stay afloat, and you begin to get an idea of the true cost of this pandemic. For over a year, we have all been missing personal once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings, graduations, special milestones as well as public events like concerts, parades, and fairs. We are all asking the same question: When will things get back to normal?

If you are hesitating about getting the vaccine, I urge you to listen to what the experts are saying. The best way to put an end to the restrictions now in place is through widespread immunity. If you don’t know where to turn for answers, I urge you to listen to the scientists and talk to your healthcare provider.

One of the primary myths surrounding the vaccine is that it is not safe because it was developed too quickly. This is just not true. Before being made available to the public, all the vaccines available today were put through a rigorous and thorough testing phase and the most intensive safety monitoring in US history. Vaccine developers used mRNA (messenger RNA) technology to develop the vaccine – a technology that has been in use for years developing other vaccines and treatments. This tried and true technology is what allowed Pfizer and Moderna to develop a vaccine so quickly.

Another popular misconception is that if you had COVID, you are immune and don’t need to get vaccinated. The fact is, it is possible to become re-infected. Immunity wanes and by getting the vaccine, you are protecting others who have not had it. Everyone should be vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of whether you have previously had it.  The trust is, we just don’t know enough about the virus to count on that. Immunity has been shown to wane over time so it is important to get the vaccine to protect others.

If you are pregnant and worried about getting the vaccine or hoping to get pregnant and worried it will cause infertility. Please talk to your provider. There is no evidence to suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine could result in sterility or infertility. Obstetrician Dr. Loralei Thornburg, an expert in high risk pregnancy at UR Medicine, urges her patients and family members who are pregnant to get the vaccine and protect themselves from contracting the virus. The side effects of the vaccine in pregnant women are the same as they are for those who are not pregnant.

Vaccines are available in our community and throughout Western New York. The best shot to get is the one in your arm. To find a vaccine near you, please go on-line to or call the Allegany County Health Department at (585) 268-9250.

You have the right to choose so please choose to protect yourself, your family and friends, and the entire community by getting the vaccine.

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