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My daughter texted me with the news that people over the age of 75 are in the next group to receive the COVID vaccine, and I fall into this category. However, I am in good health, thanks to my primary care physician, my cardiologist and my rheumatologist. My pacemaker is good for seven more years. The last shot I got in my right knee is still working. I can tell what day it is by checking my pill container with the days of the week on it.

I am retired. I don't have to leave my home. So why should I be in the next group to get the vaccine? I would like to go back to my "essential" activities like playing tennis and bridge, going to meetings and doing volunteer work. But I can tough it out. 

However, there is a group that desperately needs the vaccine and is being ignored – prisoners. They and the staff members have to live in a crowded environment. The virus is surging through the prisons. So why aren't they next? I can just hear the "holier than thou" saying they don't deserve it. After all, they committed crimes. But who among us hasn't done something bad? I recently got a warning for not stopping at a stop sign, and while in high school I stole a pen from the dime store. 

Give a prisoner my shot.

Sarah H. Thomas



Downtown Springfield has many restaurants, bars and shops located in older buildings with HVAC systems that are more difficult to modernize and implement to meet national standards, particularly to help prevent transmission of COVID-19. Customers would be more comfortable if HVAC systems were improved with commercial air filters for virus removal, outside air exchange and effective internal circulation to purify air more quickly.

This will be expensive, but a worthy consideration for a fund to aid small business owners downtown. Pandemics may become more frequent with climate change, just like other natural disasters. HVAC improvements now can help mitigate current and future disease transmission inside crowded shops, restaurants and bars, and reduce customer resistance to patronage.

John Sanford



I was a correspondent for the State Journal-Register ("Bye bye Bernie," Dec. 10). I remember when they rearranged the newsroom and put Bernie (Schoenburg)'s desk away from the main hallway. His desk area was amazing. I would just stop and stare. But his brilliance and dedication will be missed, I'm certain.

Brenda Protz

Via Facebook.com/illinoistimes


Another good Bruce Rushton column with which I happen to agree ("A-twitter over Twitter," Dec. 17). Even when I (frequently) don't, he writes like adults did at one time. Or as he so precisely put it, very few adjectives and adverbs.

Frederick Hayek

Via illinoistimes.com

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