John is a middle-school business teacher, happily married since 1989 and grateful to have been given the gift of life.
I have decided not to get the vaccine. I don’t get the regular yearly flu vaccine either. My reasoning is simply that they don’t seem necessary on the path of my life, given the mildness of affliction and the vaccine’s weaknesses. I once read that the flu vaccine in one particular year was deemed only 10% effective. My skeptical self has no reason to believe that the COVID vaccine is any better. My ignorance? Maybe. They say the COVID vaccine is in the 90% effectiveness range. Okay, but that’s not enough to get me moving, even if it were true. Why? I believe I experienced the COVID sickness about a year ago. It was far from fun but, relative to other painful experiences in my life, mostly a mild attack of those little virus creatures. And lots of people were asymptomatic. There have been other tiny creatures, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, and medical conditions I have had which have made my life much worse than the Corona Virus ever did. COVID just didn’t seem that serious. I will risk getting the COVID sickness again and not get the vaccine. The sickness was simply nowhere close to being painful or dangerous enough to warrant a trip to get needled. There are more fun things I would want to do. I thought my decision would be respected. It was not.
I recently sprained my ankle due to a careless sofa departure. My foot was under the lower level of a coffee table at the mall and when I rose to use the toilet, I fell. My foot stayed as if I were standing because of the coffee table. Imagine laying down with your foot flat on the floor. Ow. I was angry at myself. What idiot can’t leave a couch without injury? I reasoned it was my age and my prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety that contributed to the accident. I was fearful it would happen again and playfully reasoned that I could wrap myself in giant bubble wrap and have family members roll me around to my daily destinations, propping me up and unwrapping me upon arrivals. That thought was actually comforting, though ridiculous. But I was very nervous about walking and falling after that sprain. Why am I comparing the COVID vaccine to a sprained ankle?
I decided against “bubble-wrapping” and it was the same emotional thought process I used in deciding against the vaccine. I would just practice “situational awareness” like pilots are trained to do. I would be vigilant of how my old carcass physically interacts with the crevices and bumps on our planet. If I fall, I will deal with it. It will probably not be that bad. Bubble-wrapping my person and getting rolled around town by exasperated family members and friends would be a hassle and might result in unforeseen problems like dizziness or interstate commerce violations or legislation against horizontal people in public areas. So, I will wash my hands. I will care for myself. If I get the COVID again, I will deal with it. It will probably not be that bad. Getting the vaccine would be a hassle and may result in a migraine, as a colleague of mine experienced, or one of the other side effects I have heard about.
It took some preposterous suppositions, such as previously described, to defend my decision not to get the COVID vaccine. Ironically, the whole collective moral intimidation whinings performed so skillfully by a faction of our population helped to solidify my decision. Just the way the whole lockdown was handled left me feeling like the real villains were not the ones with corona-shaped appendages, but rather the ones with fingers, mouths and eyes. And brains with different wiring than mine. I guess I don’t see the problem as biological, but rather, political. Is it wrong to conclude that the vaccine is an individual decision, rather than a collective one? A person has the free choice to be vaccinated and thus be “protected” and is not being chastised for that call, so why shouldn’t a person also not be chastised for choosing not to be vaccinated. I had assumed that a vaccinated person would be safe from contracting the COVID sickness or passing the virus to others. Yet, I have read that this may not be true. So then, what is the use of the vaccine? It seems that I have another reason now to reject it. I am a health risk to others whether or not I get the vaccine. So, why is being pushed so hard? And what is it with the morally “superior” attitudes of some of our citizens who’ve taken it?
Power and control. That’s it. Shutting down the whole economy due to COVID confirmed my lack of trust in public officials in my state of California. The governor violating his own mandates at a restaurant did not help me regain that trust and it confirmed in my mind that lust for power and control were at the heart of the lockdown. The lockdown was a complete package of hyper-zealous overreaction with all the option boxes checked. Not just the burger but also the fries, supersized, the shake and an apple turnover, three, why not? and chicken nuggets and more fries too! My contempt for our state and national leadership has risen to heights I have never experienced before, from feelings of being misled and manipulated as Orwell’s 1984 citizens were about being at war all the time, all the way to the slight panic of wondering if COVID was actually the birth of a new totalitarian state, since some folks chose to call it the “plandemic!”
What would I have done in a leadership position? My plan for the pandemic would have been a vigorous public program, including education and resources, but just targeted at the “at-risk” population. Systematic welfare checks door to door, public service educational resources on COVID, protective gear provision, sanitary food provision, establishment of emergency communication, coping with being alone resources, COVID recovery care at home program, provision for safe social interaction and other modes of assistance would have been provided to this “at risk” population. The rest of society would have continued unimpeded. Instead, we had ignorant posturing and arrogant grandstanding leadership comprised of clowns who were puppet-strung by their own egos instead of having tasked themselves with effective crisis management. The wastes of time, effort, money and resources as well as the mental stress wrought upon people watching their economic lives shatter, NOT because of COVID, was absolutely unconscionable to me.
It’s always the same reaction with this political group’s mindset: an isolated series of news events or new dire circumstances for a subset of the population should result in a massive display of destabilizing leadership mandates, divisive screams for reform legislation and rampant moral intimidation, all threatening our freedoms. A real example of this was when Target was sanctioned for selling masks because there was a shortage of them for healthcare workers. Why weren’t federal or state resources utilized to buy the masks from Target or from Target’s supplier? But no, the screamers had to decry the store chain for “profits over people” or something like that. Do we need Target? Methinks, yes. Target must make a profit to live. And that is what they were doing. And Target did not acquiesce in donating the masks because they suddenly had some moral epiphany. They donated the masks to assuage their customer-base and remain a viable business concern!
My story of rejecting the vaccine does not presuppose that the vaccine is ineffective. It may be saving lives. Unfortunately, some of the people surrounding its usage are ineffective. Those calling for a “vaccine passport,” which proposes punishment for citizens exercising their right to free choice, are guilty of “never letting a crisis go to waste,” turning a pandemic into a political weapon. Regarding the people receiving the vaccine who were emotionally comforted by it or whose lives were saved as a result of getting it, I am glad. But, regarding those people who used the vaccine as a moral intimidation bashing stick, shame on them. As Thomas Paine said long ago, “the greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”