It’s Time To Get Poked
Presto chango, abracadabra alakazam, evanesco!
Just like that, COVID-19 is gone, let us all rejoice!
If only it were that easy….
Well, no magic spell exists to rid ourselves of the pandemic, but there’s something else.
A mysterious elixir called a vaccine-have you heard of it, weary traveler?
If 70–85% of the U.S. population receives it, we will reach herd immunity, severely weakening COVID and making a thing of our past. Currently, 50.1% of the population is fully vaxxed and 58.5% has had at least one dose, according to the CDC.
We’ll reach 70–85% in no time, since everyone is acting as if we’re back to normal, right?
USA editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll tackled many of the anti-vaxx arguments via a discussion with her unvaccinated brother thoroughly and efficiently: short and long term medical side effects, partisanship, misinformation and individual liberty vs. government overreach. If you have friends, family or acquaintances who remain unvaccinated, it’s worth your time to help you through needed and painful confrontations of your own.
In all fairness, I’d like to confess that I waited for a couple of months to get the vaccine. I wanted to see the rollout, if any side effects arose and give more vulnerable populations the chance to acquire before myself, being low risk.
However, I don’t see really any reason for not getting it now, barring an abnormal medical condition or other extenuating circumstance. So far, there haven’t been any widespread, statistically significant reactions to COVID. Of course, the vaccine has been out for less than a year, and longer term side effects could arise in the next few years or way down the line.
Yet, historically, vaccines don’t have many long term side effects. If there are any, they arise within the first two months, usually minor. The most dangerous of all vaccines, the smallpox vaccine, might cause 14–52 life threatening reactions for every 1 million people immunized.
“More than six million people were vaccinated in three weeks in New York City in 1947. There were 12 cases of smallpox. There were two deaths associated with smallpox, and there were, I’m sorry to say, three deaths associated with the vaccine. But if they hadn’t been vaccinated, they might’ve had thousands of thousands of deaths from smallpox.”
For a disease which has killed more humans in history than the Black Death, that is arguably a worthy trade off. It’s possible, but highly unlikely that the COVID vaccines approach the smallpox vaccine’s side effects.
If you’re opposing the vaccine because of politics, let me ask you, what made them possible? President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. He has encouraged people to get vaxxed multiple times and did so himself in January. There’s nothing else to say here.
In my view, the most legitimate reason to resist the vaccine is because of how certain politicians have acted during the crisis. Examples of hypocrisy come to mind:
1. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s hairstylist visit in April 2020, despite the state order stay at home order shutting down salons and barbershops and Ms. Lightfoot herself arguing “getting your roots done is not essential.”
2. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s attendance at a friend’s birthday party and California legislators going to Hawaii in November 2020, during a state travel advisory.
3. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issuing a tweet for residents to “avoid travel, if they can” and then bordered a flight to Houston 30 minutes later on November 25th, 2020.
These politicians displayed a special level of arrogance in defying the rules they expected the common rabble to follow: the classic ‘do what I say, and not what I do’ behavior.
The hypocrisy is infuriating enough, but don’t forget the natural tendency of government to try to increase its authority, especially during a crisis. In the words of President Obama’s chief of staff and former Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” It’s the quintessential individual liberty vs collective safety/governmental power debate. Giving government enhanced authority on issues of life and death should make us pause and think, especially when politicians flout their own rules.
Ironically, by refusing to get the vaccine, anti-vaxxers are giving the government more power. As CNN host Fareed Zakaria just said:
“When we confront problems such like this issue of vaccination, I think we have to stop trying to coddle people who are simply willfully denying facts and truth and science. You’re not going to be able to persuade them. Just you have to get tough. You have to start making it very, very difficult for people to be around in a country where they’re spreading a disease or they are potentially spreading a disease.”
The entire basis for making life ‘very difficult’ is because the U.S. population has not yet reached the 70–85% vaccinated level. How else could Mr. Zakaria and his political allies justify a return to the wonderful 2020 sh-tshow of stay at home orders, widespread lockdowns, corporate bailouts and political posturing?
They can’t. So don’t give them any ammunition to do so. There’s almost no chance that the COVID vaccines will cause long term, damaging side effects. A Republican made the vaccines possible. They are abundant and free.
Get poked, and let’s move on.
Nevertheless, if 70–85% vaccination rate is reached, and politicians move the goal posts again, I’ll be right with you, marching against government corruption and overreach.
If only we had a vaccine for that….