Let me make one thing clear at the outset: my COVID-19 vaccination and jubilation surrounding it was not crass virtue signaling. Quite the contrary, I see vaccinations as a means to protect others and return to pre-pandemic life. It’s not about virtue: it’s a direct and dispassionate approach to re-claiming the lifestyle we all miss.
Skeptical Of The COVID-19 Vaccine? Please Reconsider.
Some are still not convinced that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. The argument that the vaccines approved for use in the USA and Europe are not effective has been effectively dismantled and laid bare by hundreds of millions of recipients over the last four months.
Still, driven by skepticism and mistrust in the “system” itself, many find themselves reluctant to receive the jab. What I hear is invariably a variation of the following:
We don’t know the long-term effects of this vaccine and this is therefore a risk I am not prepared to take at this time.
Note the “at this time” at the end. I think many are open in theory to being vaccinated, but believe the wait-and-see approach is best.
To them and to you, if that is your opinion, I can only ask you to consider the following:
Short-term side effects are well known and limited
Yes, there is a slight (1 in 100,000) risk of anaphylaxis in mRNA vaccines. That’s why you sit and wait at least 15 minutes after your jab before leaving. Yes, there can be side effects, particularly if you have a fairly healthy immune system. You’ll be sore at the point of injection. You may experience a headache, fatigue, or nausea (I experienced all three). But that lasted 24 hours and was gone. Now my body is far better prepared to fight the virus. Just note the chances of blood clotting are far higher with birth control pills than COVID-19.
Vaccines protect others by greatly reducing asymptotic spread
The CDC notes that vaccines protect you and those around you by greatly reducing the threat of asymptomatic spread. Think 90% effective. In other words, if you feel like you don’t need the vaccine because you are healthy, consider that the vaccine is incredibly beneficial in protecting others who may be much more vulnerable or have existing condition in which the virus could prove far more serious.
Vaccines reduce mutation risk
Very simple concept: the more human hosts, the more opportunities for mutation. Mutations are driving the vicious fourth wave through Europe. Had everyone been vaccinated, Europe would likely be re-opened now.
The faster people are vaccinated, the faster they stop getting the virus, the faster the virus stops mutating.
Getting COVID-19 could kill you or leave you very sick
What gets me most about those who refuse a COVID-19 vaccine is how bad COVID-19 is. COVID-19 kills. That we know. COVID-19 also manifests itself in strange ways. I lost my smell for six weeks. It was miserable! My mother spent two weeks in bed, totally exhausted. It was far worse than any flu. And then there are the longhaulers. I have a friend at church who got COVID-19 around Christmas time and still has no taste or smell, four months later. Are you seriously willing to risk that over a jab that has been tested by over 600 million people worldwide?!
We have a friend who refuses to take the vaccination because she is concerned she will not be able to get pregnant. But it doesn’t take an epidemiologist to note that if COVID-19 is not making women infertile, the vaccination that attacks it certainly won’t. The fear-mongers who push that theory have been fully debunked.
But there’s also something else to consider: we don’t know the long-term effects of suffering from COVID-19, but for many people, it doesn’t look good…look up. Speaking of clotting, we’ve certainly seen links between COVID-19 and blood coagulation.
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And yet I fear this won’t convince many of you. I can already hear the retorts: “Yes, but we just don’t know what the long-term effects of this vaccination rushed through the emergency approval process.”
Conservative Libertarian Ben Shapiro believes that vaccinations should be mandatory. His argument is that your freedom and personal autonomy ends when it negatively impacts someone else. Have a listen, if you’d like:
I’m very sympathetic to his line of reasoning and believe as a person of faith that vaccines show a love for your neighbor, especially those around you who may be more vulnerable.
Take auto insurance, for example. Why is that required if you choose to drive? It’s not just to protect you, but to ensure others are protected. It is not valid to say that I cannot afford it or I am against it. If you want to drive, you need insurance. Perhaps we will reach a point in which if you want to engage in commerce, you will need a vaccination.
While I wish the recent stimulus checks were conditioned upon receiving the vaccination, perhaps there is another reality that will set in. Those “free riders” who refuse to get the vaccine may be left behind. They may not be welcomed in businesses or into foreign nations. Perhaps they will face employment barriers.
Should it be this way? Must society resort to threats? Hopefully it won’t matter because enough people get vaccinated anyway. No, it should not be. But not because such tactics are immoral, but because people should understand that actions do not merely effect them, but effect others.
If you are firmly against vaccinations but willing to stay home and isolate from others for the rest of your life, then by all means go ahead. But if you care about your neighbor and want to get back to pre-pandemic life, please reconsider getting the vaccination.
From my own social circle, it seems those most against the vaccination are those most against masks, social distancing, and lockdowns. Perhaps we will look back one day and see that the lockdowns created more harm than help. But there’s a distinct difference between economic loss accepted as a byproduct of protecting (or attempting to protect) human life in the face of an unknown virus and human loss as a result of irrational fear sewn by opportunists who seek to profit off the vulnerable. Your jab can save lives. There is no conspiracy. Isn’t it time to look beyond the fear and see that your small action can play a key role in taming this virus? I would hate to see another wave hit the USA, as it is now hitting Europe.
I am incredibly thankful for scientists around the world who corralled wisdom and discernment to create vaccines in record time. When I posted the picture of my vaccination card or myself being jabbed, it was not to show that I am a good person or even that I am doing my part to slow the spread of this lethal virus. It was to express genuine thankfulness that I live in a place and time in which, God willing, I won’t have to go through a second round of the virus and my parents or grandmother or uncle will not have to face the particular pain of a bad bout with Covid-19.
For yourselves and for others, if you are on the fence about the virus, please stay away from the conspiracy websites and read the growing scholarship on how safe and effective these vaccines are. You’ll really be glad you did.