Summer is drawing to a close and everyone is preparing for school openings, fall terms in college, and a return to in-person work schedules. We should all have been vaccinated. But no, only 52.2 percent of Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19 as of August 25, 2021.

In contrast, according to a recent American Medical Association survey, over 96 percent of doctors are vaccinated. This proves that most doctors are not asking anyone to do what they have not done themselves.

So why are so many eligible people not vaccinated yet? Some people use a lot of their time to do “extensive research” and believe stories from controversial websites. They knowingly or unknowingly spread misinformation around. Also, many think that they are already immune or too young or healthy and will survive Covid-19.

Then, of course, some still believe that COVID is a myth. And we cannot forget the anti-vaxxers or those that still argue that the vaccine is too new. The Pfizer vaccine has received FDA approval if that was any reason to hesitate.

There is so much talk about freedom, personal choice, and individual decisions. What have we become as a society if we cannot take a simple vaccine for the common good to protect the vulnerable, ourselves, our families, and our children? What about the personal freedom of others to move freely and live life without fear of contracting a potentially deadly disease? 

What about helping prevent thousands of deaths, illnesses, and hospitalizations? What about avoiding another lockdown, closing of restaurants and businesses? In short, prevent another economic and social shutdown. Sometimes we have to do something for our country, such as in war, famine, disease, and suffering, just like we do when there is a draft for war.

I sometimes hear people argue about why we need vaccines when we still have to wear masks or why we wear masks when we are vaccinated. No one said the vaccine would be a hundred percent effective against contracting Covid-19. It is pretty close to 100 percent in preventing severe illness and death, and we do need multiple layers of protection from a rapidly mutating and sneaky virus.

There are very few reasons why one should not get vaccinated or not wear a mask. I will not go into them. Any of those reasons should include a doctor’s note, and if you do not have a doctor’s letter stating otherwise, you need to get the vaccine and mask up as required.

Labor Day is upon us, and millions of American workers are celebrated for their immense contributions to the nation. Many of them are in the service, retail, food, and construction industries. 

Many of them are “essential” workers who have suffered and continue to suffer disproportionately from COVID illness and death. Many are in healthcare and have given their all to fight the pandemic and are now burnt out and overwhelmed.

This Labor Day, if you or anyone you know is not vaccinated, please consider it a patriotic duty to get vaccinated. Protect our workers, our children, our families, and our way of life.

 Do not give history the chance to judge you harshly for dodging this “draft.”

Dr. Anupama Verma MD is the editor in chief of the Women in White Coats blog and a CoAuthor of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats book two. She is a nephrologist who has practiced for more than fifteen years and has lived on four continents.