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The Pinal County Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 vote last week turned down $3 million-plus from the federal government to “improve vaccine equity.” Without getting into the national debate over “equity” vs. “equality” and what that means, the vote points out the complexity of a world that continues to live with COVID-19.

The county’s health officials wanted the money to encourage more people to get vaccinated, and it’s hard to argue with that. A resurgence of COVID-19 mainly involves unvaccinated people. Many of them recover with little effect, but sadly, a small number become seriously ill and some die. This coronavirus, with its variants, may well be with us permanently.

Many Americans have been vaccinated, and now some apparently will get a third dose. Meanwhile, some people are skeptical of the vaccine. The fact it has been politicized by some on both sides of the political aisle does not help. Also, full government approval has been slow. That is unfortunate but perhaps necessary, and the fact that people could still have the option to get vaccinated is a good thing.

Now, some of those refusing the vaccine will face not being able to enjoy some entertainment options and in some cases to continue their employment. But of course, they are exercising their freedom of choice.

The multimillion-dollar grant to Pinal County no doubt could have helped reach more people. And the federal money likely will be spent somewhere anyway. But the dilemma leaves us with a few questions: How much needs to be spent to convince people to accept something that is readily available to them? Are we as a nation spending too much on this crisis, boosted by political considerations, to the point a future crisis might be met with fewer options? Does this spending, and countless other examples, mean that future generations will be so burdened by debt that they will have fewer options in life?

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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