Last week I did something that is very out of the ordinary for me: I dyed my hair bright red. I’m normally someone who doesn’t dye her hair, or get regular haircuts (especially during the pandemic), or cover up the streaks of gray branding my brown.
Yet, last week was a different week and I wanted to do something extraordinary to mark the moment. I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and after one heck of a challenging year it felt liberating to celebrate with a major change like going from dark brown to bright red. I’m so excited to be fully immunized and my hair is an outward expression of that. My family, who’ve seen a lot of me this past year since we’re largely homebound, was also excited to have a mama with a new look.
To me, the social event of the season is the Flathead City-County Health Department’s vaccination clinic and, while I was there for my shot, I noticed a few others who either dressed up or wore a special shirt commemorating the momentous occasion. Now that Montana has opened its vaccine eligibility to people ages 16 and older, and there are more doses available from local health departments and pharmacies across the state, it’s thrilling to watch so many people get their shot.
The path to normalcy and overcoming the global pandemic is to have everyone who is eligible receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine offers protection against the coronavirus and is the best way to combat the seriousness of COVID-19. For the safety of our community, and the ability to rebuild our economy, we need to get as many shots as possible into as many arms as possible.
You should feel encouraged to get the vaccine and know that there’s an impressive range of locations in the Flathead Valley to receive it, whether you choose to go through the health department’s vaccination site at the Flathead County Fairgrounds or elect to use your pharmacy. Dyeing your hair is not a prerequisite, but I do suggest you consider a fun way to celebrate your immunization, a way to honor the sacrifices experienced during the pandemic and a salute to the hope that this shot delivers.
Ice cream also helps, which is what I served my family after I returned home from the clinic, red hair blazing and a giant smile on my face.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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