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Jim Kopriva wants to end the pandemic and safely visit with family and friends. That’s why he got vaccinated for COVID-19.

Jim Kopriva is the communications manager for the City of Lakewood. He’s looking forward to getting back to pre-pandemic living. That’s why he got vaccinated for COVID-19.

“The reward to me is just so clear,” he said. “I want to see some live music. I want to go to a concert. I’m trying to get back to the great music scene that the Northwest has been starved of over the past year.”

He also plans to travel back to the Midwest to visit some friends. 

“A bunch of my buddies are getting married, and I want to be standing up for them,” he said. “My folks still live back there, and they’re retired. I want them to spend some time out here looking at houses, get them thinking about moving out here.” 

To gather safely and confidently with friends and family is one of the best incentives to get vaccine.

“That’s what I want,” Kopriva said. “I want my people around me.”

Jim Kopriva

How far we’ve come.

This time last year, Kopriva worked at Washington state Department of Health and Human Services, where he saw the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In many ways, many of our worst fears were realized with how lethal this disease is,” Kopriva  said. “I think we’ve been around it so long we’re numb to how devastating this is to personal health.”

He worries pandemic fatigue is keeping some people from rushing out to get vaccinated.

“When someone gets COVID, it’s serious,” he said. “Thousands of people in this state have died. The social and economic effects are not to be discounted as well.”

Kopriva never considered not getting vaccinated for COVID-19. He trusts the medicine and the science behind it. Plus, he wants the many benefits that come from being protected.

He got his first shot of Moderna vaccine in April and his second shot May 24. For the health of our community, he’s urging others who may be waiting to get their shots sooner rather than later.

“We need everyone to do what I just did,” he said. “Stick out your arm and get it over with. Let’s move on.”

For those we lost.

Kopriva talks about the victims of the pandemic when discussing the vaccines. 

“I saw firsthand my grandmother deteriorate in isolation over the last year as the virus spread through her building and killed some of her neighbors,” he said. “My grandmother just passed away, and I regret how miserable her last year was.”

He considers not getting vaccinated an injustice to those who suffered or died. “We all need to do everything we can to get past this.”

“The people really suffering aren’t going back and forth about whether they should get a vaccine,” he said. “They’re dead. Or they have serious illness, or they lost somebody, or they’re out of work. And they’re yearning at the chance to get this vaccine and move forward.”

If you still need a reason to get vaccinated, Kopriva says to think of your most vulnerable friend or family member. Those folks are the reasons he got vaccinated. He says, “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for them.” 

“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m 30, and in good health. I don’t have a lot to worry about, really. But everyone I know does. My family does. That’s why I got vaccinated.”

There’s nothing wrong with having questions.

Kopriva says he understands some people question the science behind the vaccines, and he encourages them to do their research.

“I’ve been really satisfied with the clinical trials,” he said.  “At this point, millions of people have taken it.” 

“Vaccines advance the human species time and again,” he said. “They’re going to do that again in a big way here in the United States, Pierce County and around the world.”

Gov. Inslee said the state is planning to fully reopen by June 30, but that date could move up if 70% of those 16 and older initiate vaccination sooner.

“It’s got very little to do with me, frankly,” Kopriva says. “It’s the least I can do for my society to take a safe vaccine. I’m just thankful it’s available so soon—thank goodness for 21st century science. It’s making it possible for all of us to get on with life and make new memories.”

Register for your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can also just drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated. No appointment is necessary.

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.