*Story updated Aug. 9, 2021

With COVID-19 cases surging in New Bedford and across Bristol County, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced that city employees will be required to receive vaccines or submit to testing. We asked readers for reactions to the news and whether vaccines should be mandated. Here’s what you told us:

We need to get our lives back

Yes. if this is the only way to get back our lives YES we need to mandate the vaccine.

— Sylvia White, New Bedford

Getting vaccinated is the smart thing to do

I believe vaccines should be mandated, because it appears that unless they are, we will have to live with the virus sickening the unvaccinated, creating a terrible problem for children in schools, and perhaps having to go back to more of a shutdown of parts of the economy.

The other issue is the distinct possibility that the virus will mutate into something far more virulent and dangerous. Getting a vaccination is the smart thing to do, the community-minded thing to do, and the necessary thing to do if we want to stop the spread.

— Kate Fentress, Dartmouth

Stop spreading the ‘COVID lethal weapon’

Yes. Just like common-good rules such as stop signs. You are not allowed to crash into me, assault me, throw me off a bridge. You are not allowed to carry, to allow mutation, to spread the COVID lethal weapon.

— Carole Ferguson, South Dartmouth

We need vaccine passports

I think there should be vaccine passports. People should not be allowed into restaurants or other indoor venues without a passport. All school personnel should definitely be mandated to have vaccinations since they will be in contact with kids who then potentially could spread it to their families. All correctional officers, public safety personnel like police and fire and hospitals and doctors’ offices all should be mandated to be vaccinated.”

— Marlene Pollock, New Bedford

Protect yourself, your loved ones and our community

Despite being fully vaccinated, I contracted COVID-19, possibly because the immunosuppressant medication that I take for my rheumatoid arthritis prevented my body from building a strong antibody response. However, I was lucky because the vaccine prevented me from getting seriously ill. But I felt horrible for several days with body aches, coughing, and a severe headache. Please take this seriously and get vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community!

— Vanessa Gralton, Fairhaven

Get ‘the jab’ to keep your job

I think use of both carrot and stick is needed. However even before both approaches are used, I think a much more serious effort needs to be made to reach the higher unvaccinated populations than now exists. Medical personnel need to go to where the people are. Whether it’s houses of worship, clubs, community centers, workplaces, wherever. This needs to be done yesterday. Local gift cards and free entry into the weekly Massachusetts vaccine lottery are good carrots, but maybe a local weekly lottery of tickets for highly popular music acts in Boston would entice more people. Also, respected young and Latinx community members need to do more urging for the greater common good.

Finally, I think the stick is needed at this point. No vaccine equals no entry to college and the university — and no entry to concerts as well. I think employers need to step up and make getting the jab a condition of employment. Maybe even raise the hourly wage a buck an hour until Jan 1, 2022, to show employee appreciation and spur a very quick jab. An immediate monetary incentive could be great publicity for participating businesses, especially retail.

— Peter Arsenault, Rochester

Thanks for informing nightclub’s neighbors

I live down the street from Greasy Luck and am concerned to hear about this.
Thank you for letting us know.

— Margo Grant, New Bedford

Refusing vaccines can help COVID-19 become more deadly

The unvaccinated are the playground for the virus to change into its next version … a variant like delta came to be when the virus was in many people, some with no symptoms. When the virus has lots of people to grow on, it gets more chances to change itself. So those who refuse to vaccinate give the deadly virus a way to grow into more deadly versions.

A person who says “I’ll take my chances” is also taking a huge chance that they will be the next as a variant develops and spreads to others. Some folks don’t know they have it at all, and others are in the ICU on ventilators before they die. Others, especially younger folk, just get awful follow-up problems even if the disease was brief.

Be smart, be thoughtful and get vaccinated. Any brief side-effects are a tiny fraction of what the disease can be like. Do it for yourself, for those around you and your community. The healthcare workers are begging you to get vaccinated.

— Carole Ferguson, South Dartmouth

Take COVID-19 precautions to help others

It is vitally important for the safety of all, especially babies and young children not yet eligible for vaccines, that we all are vaccinated and take safe covid precautions. I am masking indoors, and anytime I have a cough/cold.

Please, please, if you are unvaccinated, speak to your doctor or nurse about getting the vaccine. It is one of the safest vaccines ever made; it is saving lives every day — it could save yours or the lives of your family and loved ones. Thank you!

— Pamela McNamara, South Dartmouth


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