I get it. I’ve heard your concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It seems every time we talk you mention something new, some bit of information you read on Facebook or heard from someone who knows someone about why the vaccine is a bad idea, or why you should wait a little longer before considering it.
The last time we spoke, you mentioned reading a post by someone on Facebook about a woman in her 20s who got blood clots shortly after getting her first vaccination shot, blood clots that caused injury to her brain. The young woman has a long road to recovery. Was the vaccine the cause of her blood clots? They don’t know but the timing really makes you wonder. Of course, you did your research and learned that the birth control pill has a 1 in 1,000 chance of causing a blood clot. This compares to the odds of getting a blood clot from the COVID-19 vaccine of 3 in 1,000,000. Of course, you also learned those that get infected with COVID-19 have a 1 in 3 chance of developing clots. But, you concluded the risk of clotting from the vaccine is still too high.
And then there’s the one doctor you spoke to who said the only reason they got vaccinated, “Was because they had to.” What does that say about the safety and efficacy of a vaccine if a doctor wouldn’t get it if they had a choice? I once met a cardiologist that smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, but I’m sure he knew what he was doing.
One of the points you mentioned about why you don’t think it’s necessary to get vaccinated is because you live in a rural part of the country. Your nearest neighbor lives nearly a quarter mile away and there’s so much open air and space. “There just aren’t that many people where I live,” you told me. “We’re not exposed as much as folks like you who live in the city.” I was a little confused when you told me you had 25 guests in your rather small house for a community Christmas party. You mentioned that nobody wore a mask.
Someone else I was talking to about their hesitancy to get vaccinated expressed concerns about how little testing the vaccines received before being released. “COVID was discovered in late 2019 and they had a vaccine less than a year later. I’m going to wait until it’s been more thoroughly tested,” they said.
I get it. “I don’t know what’s in the vaccine, so I’m not putting that into my body.” Have you ever eaten a hot dog? It’s best not to ask what’s in them. You don’t want to know.
You’re an intelligent person with a curious mind. You like to research things before making big decisions. Making the smart decision is important to you, so I assume you have already researched and gathered all the facts about the risks of COVID-19 infection. I assume you have already read reports summarizing the massive amount of data we have about the efficacy and risks of the various vaccines available.
For instance, I assume you have learned that the COVID-19 vaccines that came out in late 2020 had actually been in development since the SARS epidemic in 2010, they just modified the method ever so slightly to make it work on the very similar SARS-CoV-2 virus (the medical name for COVID-19). It was the equivalent of changing the location of a cup holder in a car that’s been in production for a decade.
Safety is important to you, so I can rest assured that you learned that the United States currently has the safest vaccine supply in its history. This particular suite of vaccines has been tested on millions of people, and has continued to be safe and effective since its first dose was administered.
Perhaps you can relate to a couple I know. The husband is 70 and the wife is 69. They told me they didn’t want to get the vaccine because it hasn’t been tested on pregnant women or children (those tests are in progress and so far have shown it to be perfectly safe, but I’m sure you’re aware of that).
When it comes to your odds of getting infected, you’ve read the data that infection rates have some similarity to a real estate maxim: location, location, location. In fact, you’ve no doubt read that those in rural communities are more likely to get infected than those in urban areas. The virus is the same and people are the same biologically, but as you probably already surmised this is due to several non-biological factors, including the hesitancy of those living in rural communities to get vaccinated, along with the political ideology of those who tend to live in rural areas — conservatives are far more likely to live in rural areas, and conservatives are also far more likely to ignore or discount medical science and instead trust the medical advice and example of their preferred political leaders and select group of news sources. Survey have also consistently shown they are more likely to ignore state-mandated guidelines about wearing masks or gathering in groups indoors for reasons of personal liberty. I’m also sure you’re aware that those who get infected with COVID-19 and live in rural areas are far more likely to die from it due to the scarcity of adequate and timely health care. If you catch it and live in a rural area, you’re more likely to die from it. It’s a simple matter of logistics.
I’ve heard your viewpoint loud and clear that wearing a mask or getting vaccinated is an entirely personal choice, one that only affects you as an individual and no one else. It is your individual right to choose what to do with your body. Your decision to not get vaccinated is 100% personal and has no impact whatsoever on those you come in contact with, right? And wearing a mask only affects the air you breath in, not the air you breath out, especially when you’re in a small room with other people, right? It’s possible to be infected with COVID-19 and be contagious, yet be free of symptoms, but wearing a mask if you’re feeling fine feels like foolish nonsense.
Lately, there’s been talk about so called ‘vaccine passports’, documentation proving you’ve been vaccinated against the contagious COVID-19 virus in order to travel. This is an unprecedented outrage. It is Big Brother, the government stepping in and telling us what we can and cannot do. Many have compared it to the Mark of the Beast referenced in the Book of Revelation. Of course, you are already well aware that we’ve been requiring vaccines for decades to conduct basic functions like travel abroad, attend elementary school, participate in high school and college sports, and other common functions like that. Even though a federally issued vaccine passport isn’t an actual thing, it’s still an outrage, right?
Getting a vaccine to protect yourself and others is a personal choice. It shares a lot of similarity in choosing what you eat. I won’t be impacted if you make the personal choice to eat nothing but greasy cheeseburgers, at least not at first. Your friends and family will be impacted when you die prematurely of heart disease or colon cancer, of course.
Wearing a mask, especially if you feel fine, seems to be a big hassle. They’re uncomfortable and they seem to be asocial — we can’t see each other smile. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of people hooked up to ventilators with white plastic tubes down their throats keeping them alive. Those are a big hassle, too. Along with stories you’ve heard of a friend of a friend who may have gotten a blood clot after getting vaccinated, you’ve also heard of people who were not allowed to be with their loved one in their final days as they died of COVID-19 infection in a hospital, alone and in agonizing pain, unable to breathe. What a hassle.
And then there are the many public figures who expressed doubts that COVID-19 was even real, or that the infection rate was overblown for political or even economic reasons (it’s a hoax created by drug companies or even a weaponized virus by those evil Chinese — they call it “Kung Flu” for a reason, right?). Some of these celebrities and politicians have claimed the death rate is actually far lower than the liberal media (Fake News, amiright?) makes it out to be. What’s so bizarre is how those same celebrities and politicians ended up getting infected by the virus somehow changing their tune overnight by stating, “I nearly died” and “It is way worse than I would have thought; the suffering was beyond anything I could have imagined” and “I would never wish this on anybody.” Perhaps they have become tools of the fake media and fraudulent medical community, intent upon foisting a diabolical hoax upon the public. Maybe they’re now in the pocket of Bill Gates, who is intent upon using the vaccine as a way to inject microscopic electronic tracking devices into our bodies.
The fake news media likes to tell us that nearly 600,000 people have died (as of this writing) of coronavirus in the U.S. alone in the year or so that it was first detected in America. That’s an outrageous number, right? Consider that 405,355 Americans died in all of World War II, from 1941 to 1945. How is it possible that 600,000 people can die in about 14 months of an overblown disease that’s barely contagious and highly survivable? Surely that can’t be right. It must be a big lie. There are those who think the same about the Holocaust, where it is claimed that 6,000,000+ Jews were exterminated by the Nazis. They don’t believe that actually happened, either.
Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Wearing a mask and not gathering indoors with others such as in a restaurant, church, or even our own homes, is a personal choice.
You are an intelligent person with a curious mind. You have done your research and looked at the verifiable facts about the COVID-19 virus, what happens to those infected, and the efficacy of the vaccine and behaviors like wearing masks and social distancing. I rely on you to do what you think is best not only as an individual living your personal life, but as a member of your family, your local community, and as a member of society as a whole.
I have faith in you to make the right decision based on all the evidence and your own moral and ethical compass because the virus will surely respect how you feel about these issues.