Getting Vaccinated

Alan Zendell March 16, 2021

The very notion of politicizing a vaccine for a debilitating disease is beyond stupid, not to mention that it places countless millions of people at risk. It’s a further testament to the danger of having a divisive demagogue who cares about nothing but himself spreading lies that threaten the lives of even more Americans. With blood of half a million already on his hands, what’s another few hundred thousand? It’s criminal behavior. Back in the 1980s, people who deliberately exposed others to the HIV virus were prosecuted and sent to jail. (Hint!)

I’ll put this in the simplest possible terms. Suppose technologically advanced aliens came to Earth. Think Gort, the robot in the classic sci-fi film(s) The Day the Earth Stood Still. Gort’s mission was to find evidence that Earth and humanity were worth saving; otherwise he would destroy the planet and everything on it. What if Gort arrived today and said that all we had to do to save our planet was log on to a website and vote, “Yes”? What if he also said that Earth would be spared if at least 80% of adults did so, but otherwise, it would be the end of humanity?

Yes, that’s a somewhat strained metaphor for getting vaccinated against COVID. The only way to get rid of COVID is for the general population to achieve herd immunity, thus depriving the virus of any further human hosts. Getting 80% of not just Americans, but citizens of all countries inoculated would achieve that. In the face of Gort’s ultimatum, what would you say to people who refused to sign on to his website? Would it matter whether they didn’t believe Gort was real, or some charismatic leader told them not to, or their church told them obeying Gort’s command was a mortal sin? How would government leaders and scientists deal with the situation?

The Washington Post reported today that the Biden administration is in a full court press to change people’s minds. The President, First Lady, Vice President, and First Gentleman will all be on the road this week promoting the need to be vaccinated, particularly in the most vulnerable communities of color. In addition, they will address faith groups by recruiting NIH Director Francis Collins, who is both a respected scientist and a devout Christian as their ambassador to communities of faith. “Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci — joined by 25 interfaith clergy, who will be vaccinated on camera — will lead a live-streamed event at Washington’s National Cathedral tonight.”

To put this into clearer perspective, consider polio, measles, and smallpox. We rarely hear about those diseases today, but that’s not because humans developed immunity naturally. Vaccines were responsible for achieving herd immunity in all three cases. Would you choose not to vaccinate your children against them? Would you want them interacting with other children who weren’t?

That’s enough warnings. If you’re thinking clearly and responsibly, you don’t need them. And if you’re not, they won’t do any good. Perhaps there’s a more positive way to encourage people. My wife and I were both vaccinated in January and February. After the two week waiting period, to allow the Moderna vaccine to maximize our immunity, we decided to travel a thousand miles to visit grandchildren we hadn’t seen in a year, including one we’d never met. The feeling that accompanied that decision was like having been released from prison.

Almost instantly, the weight of the lockdowns, the need to wear a mask whenever we interacted with other people, and the fear of possibly carrying the disease asymptomatically evaporated. In its place was the security of knowing we likely were completely immune, and that with responsible behavior (masks and social distancing where appropriate) for the next few months, until everyone else was, we could begin living normally again. We won’t be eating inside crowded restaurants, boarding cruise ships, or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with crowds at concerts or nightclubs any time soon. But there is no conflict, no stress – instead a feeling that following the lead of Dr. Fauci and others, we have done our part to protect not only our families, but everyone else as well.

Some people feel good protesting and waving signs, spewing the nonsense they hear from the former president, senators like Rand Paul, (a physician, no less,) and self-serving pundits like Tucker Carlson. I wish there was a way to convince them that being vaccinated feels euphoric. Life is beginning to be filled with joy again. It’s so much better than fear, anger, and vitriol.

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