At last check, just over half of Americans are vaccinated against the potentially lethal effects of COVID-19. The numbers are better for California (about 60 percent) and much better in San Mateo County, where 80 percent of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated with one of three vaccines either fully approved or approved for emergency use.

Late last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full, robust approval for the Pfizer vaccine. That vaccine is the one most Americans have taken and, like a similar Moderna version, makes use of mRNA technology that is one of those groundbreaking moments in medicine that our grandchildren will read about in history books.

There are still people who are hesitant or simply won’t take a shot for this virus if their life depends on it… literally. But others have said that FDA approval was what they were waiting for. Regardless of what experts told them, a percentage of Americans felt in their hearts that the vaccine was rushed. It didn’t matter whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump told them it was safe and that they should roll up their sleeves. They wanted to wait until they were sure the vaccine was safe.

So, we can check off one more reason to say no.

This leaves the fringes. People who have convinced themselves that the vaccines don’t work because we have breakthrough infections. That they make you magnetic. That they cause infertility. That they lead to autism. Or that the virus itself is a ruse created so Bill Gates can implant Microsoft Office into our brains. Those believers constitute the lowest common denominators of our society. There will just be some who are blinded by conspiracy and overwhelmed by “information,” unable to determine what is real any more. We will just have to live — or die — with that.

Meanwhile, our lives lurch along. Coastside students are back in classrooms and trying their best. So far, the schools are reporting cases you can count on one hand. We hear various rumors of individuals who might have contracted the disease and may be spreading it. For reasons that should be obvious, we tread lightly over those. We ask about the most credible of those rumors and are confident local school officials are telling us the truth about case rates and equally sure they are doing everything they can to trace and isolate people in the path of the virus.

More of us are heading into the office. We’re venturing out to eat, for church services, to Labor Day gatherings … tentative steps that we hope take us toward a better day.

We now have the tools to get there. Mask up when in doubt. Get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Keep some distance. Stay tuned for information about potential boosters and the latest from trusted, real scientific experts like those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the San Mateo County Health Department. Encourage you’re your friends and family to do the same. We’re getting there. It’s time to lengthen those tentative steps into more determined strides.

— Clay Lambert

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