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Staff Photo By Troy Stolt / Hamilton County residents wait in their cars for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Hamilton County Health Department's Enterprise South distribution site.

"Ugh!" a friend posted on Facebook two weeks ago. "This stuff is no joke!!"

The friend was talking about COVID-19. He and his wife and their two children all had it. He wound up being hospitalized, and is now out.

Yes, the virus. Right here as spring has sprung. Right now as the days are getting warmer. Right here as vaccines are going into arms by the thousands.

It's rudely still out there, the 2020 tormentor, three months into 2021.

According to the Hamilton County Health Department, 49 cases were diagnosed Monday. Twenty-four were hospitalized, up from 13 on March 5, which was the lowest number since last June. Yet, two died from the virus last week.

We're not out of the woods yet, though some may believe otherwise.

And while county residents have been fulfilling most of the vaccine slots offered by the health department, and at other area locations, we're about to become vaccine rich.

The state is expecting to get 311,000 vaccine first and second doses this week and more than 350,000 next week.

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And within weeks, everyone aged 16 and older who wants a vaccine will be eligible to get one. And everyone should.

(READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccinations will be open to all Tennessee adults by April 5, officials say)

If the choice is between contracting a virus that might kill you and receiving two doses — or one — of a vaccine that will almost certainly prevent you from contracting a virus that might kill you, is there really a choice?

Yet, for some there is — for a variety of reasons. We hope their minds will change, but that must not stop the rest of us.

The state of Tennessee generally and Hamilton County specifically have attempted to make the process of getting a vaccine as convenient as they can, based on the amount of vaccine they have been able to get.

The county now has four sites from which it administers shots. You can schedule them online. You can make an appointment by phone. You can drive through and be inoculated. You can even be picked up by the county and driven to a vaccination site. It couldn't be easier.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County ends COVID-19 Task Force while concerns grow about vaccine hesitancy)

Walmarts have the vaccines. Various pharmacies have them. The health department has them. Some clinics have them.

Within just a couple of weeks, we all can do our part for each other. There will be enough vaccine to go around.

The sooner most of us are vaccinated, the sooner life returns to normal. Don't we all want that?

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