Handshakes, Hugs, Fist Bumps & Vaccines
By Gerry Kosanovic, District 5110 Governor
It’s safe to say that the curveball pitched to us by the current COVID variant continues to challenge our capacity to replicate normal routines of the past. For example, this year’s customary District Governor club visits were first impacted by the Delta variant in July, then Omicron in December. The pandemic spike in our district continues to disrupt normal activity. Nonetheless, the third iteration of my club visit schedule finds me traveling to selected district clubs for in-person service and fellowship where possible, as well as meeting virtually when needed with ZOOM. When personally meeting members, to be safe, I give a simple protective fist bump; no handshakes, no hugs. I am fully vaccinated and defensively cautious.
The essential message in this climate is safety. To ensure the care of fellow members, Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta, along with Rotary Foundation Chair John Germ, endorse and strongly encourage vaccination for all individuals including our members who are currently able to be vaccinated against COVID-19. I share this endorsement with Rotarians in District 5110. At the same time, we salute health care workers as they continue to provide lifesaving services. Local recognition of these heroes by each of our clubs can help to encourage them to continue their important work.
Rotary International and Rotary Foundation Position Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination:
As the first organization to envision a polio-free world through mass immunization of children, Rotary believes the decision to vaccinate is a humanitarian imperative. The Rotary International Board of Directors and Rotary Foundation Trustees believe that:
1. Global vaccination is the path to ending the pandemic, and we strongly encourage vaccination for all individuals, including our members.
2. Misinformation hinders the fight against COVID-19, and we are committed to providing our members with science-based information.
3. Rotary is engaged in assuring equity in vaccine access to all people. Through joint efforts with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance we are leveraging our frontline experience with polio to facilitate vaccine delivery.
4. Rotary salutes health care workers everywhere as they continue to provide lifesaving services. We encourage clubs to offer recognition and encouragement to these heroes.
5. Rotary and Rotaract clubs are encouraged to redouble their efforts to support COVID-19 prevention and vaccination efforts.
6. As one of the greatest advances of modern medicine, vaccines are safe, effective and save millions of lives each year. They have eliminated or controlled numerous diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles, and Ebola, and now, there is the opportunity to end the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccination.
7. The eradication of polio remains the goal of the highest order for Rotary. We can continue to apply the lessons we have learned in fighting polio to COVID-19 response efforts