No one wants to go backward. We don’t want to see businesses close again. We don’t want to have our children out of school this fall. We don’t want to have to go back to last year’s COVID-19 lockdown.

All of that can be avoided if we do our part and get vaccinated against COVID-19, which sparked the pandemic that is in fact far from over. Kent County Health Officer William Webb said last week that our local health department has plenty of doses available for eligible community members — which is pretty much anyone over 12 years of age.

While metrics in Maryland and here in Kent County are down from where they were over the winter and a mid-spring spike, the Delta variant of the virus has health officials concerned, especially when coupled with lagging vaccination rates. The more contagious variant also poses the risk of increased hospitalizations. As Webb told us in an interview, it is very much a variant of concern.

Health officials with international organizations, with the federal government and our own health officer are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

The Kent County Health Department is holding weekly vaccine clinics every Thursday. Today’s available hours are 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., offering first doses of the Moderna vaccine for anyone over 18, and 11:30 a.m. to noon, with first doses of the Pfizer vaccine available to anyone over 12. There also are two closed vaccine clinics today, one for those receiving their second dose of the Moderna vaccine and the other for round two of Pfizer vaccine.

The clinics are held at the health department’s office, 125 S. Lynchburg St., Chestertown. Go to kenthd.org/covid-19 for more information.

For those in need of transportation, Delmarva Community Transit is continuing to offer its services. Contact the dispatch line — 410-778-5187 — a day in advance. Phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $6 door-to-door round trip, or $3 each way.

In addition, Webb said the Kent County Health Department “will do whatever it takes” to accommodate those who want to get vaccinated.

The Queen Anne’s County Department of Health is offering COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursdays as well, a switch from its previously scheduled Monday clinics. Appointments for the Moderna vaccine will be available to those over 18 and the Pfizer vaccine will be available to adolescents 12 to 17 with a parent or guardian supervision.

More information on Queen Anne’s County COVID-19 vaccinations and scheduling can be found at www.covidvax.maryland.gov or by calling the Department of Health’s COVID-19 information number 443-262-9900.

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has partnered with local churches and organizations to offer vaccine clinics. In Kent County, a clinic will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 at Shrewsbury Parish Church, 12824 Shrewsbury Road, Kennedyville. The clinics will offer the Pfizer vaccine to anyone 12 or older. Second doses will reportedly be scheduled at each location three weeks after.

While the clinic is open for walk-up patients, registration is encouraged. To register, email your name and phone number to Lisa Eisemann at leisemann@umm.edu or call 410-822-1000 ext. 1227.

COVID-19 testing also continues to be available at the Kent County Health Department. Testing clinics are held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday. Make an appointment by calling 410-778-1350.

It wasn’t that long ago that a COVID-19 vaccine appointment was the hottest ticket in town, with spaces filling up as soon as online signups opened. Now opportunities and doses abound. If you haven’t gotten the vaccine, we join our health officials in encouraging you to do so — as a matter of personal and public health.

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