I am now going to, quite deliberately, touch a third rail.
In my country, there are quite a few people who have taken one of the three available vaccines (and they are not the same vaccines that may be available in your country). We have available the Pfizer, the Moderna, and the Johnson & Johnson. They have been approved under an “emergency authorization” by the FDA. This means they don’t have full approval and it can be rescinded at any time, but it has been judged by the FDA to be safe enough that it is better to take it than to get COVID. All these things I just said are facts, and may not be disputed. I am not saying in this paragraph that the FDA is correct, just that this is what they did.
In my country, A little over half have taken the vaccine. I think the number is around 70%. The rest have not, and a significant portion of the country absolutely refuses to, for varying reasons.
I am not going to tell you that they are wrong, necessarily. But I am going to rail against some of the arguments they’re using. And I’m going to berate them a bit for trying to convince others to go along with them.
Now, let’s first get this out of the way: There are those that cannot take it for medical reasons. I know one of these people. This is, in my opinion, absolutely fine. If you can’t take it, you can’t take it, and you’ll just have to be a bit more careful. That’s how the cookie crumbles.
There are also those who cannot take it for religious reasons. I think this is entirely consistent, and even commendable in its own way. Whether or not your opinion of what God thinks or expects of you is correct, that’s what you believe and you’re sticking to it and not compromising. I actually respect that.
There are those who have done as much homework as they can, and have decided that the risks of taking the vaccine are higher than the risks of COVID for their own personal situation. I’m good with that as well. These types of people have a realistic idea of how risky the vaccine is, how risky COVID is, and have decided that they would rather try their luck at avoiding getting COVID. I think this is a perfectly rational decision, as well. It’s not one I made, but at least those who are in this bucket have made as informed a decision as they can, and have made a choice.
There are also those who do not trust government, the CDC, Trump, Biden, FDA, Big Pharma, etc., to have their best interests at heart. I am a little less sympathetic to this point of view, but I think it’s defensible, as arguably, they don’t. I, personally, am beyond fed up at the whole “mask mandate” thing, and am glad that Greg Abbott (the governor of Texas) has said “enough of that.” Whether masks work or not is an entirely different topic that I won’t get into, but I will concede absolutely that the Federal government has pretty much lost all credibility at this point, so if you don’t trust them, well, I can hardly argue with that.
There are those who say that the vaccine isn’t safe because it only has emergency authorization. It is, obviously, true that it has emergency authorization and not full authorization. I would have been much more sympathetic to this argument a few months ago. But it’s been pretty widely dispensed now. I don’t really consider that a valid argument anymore. And I don’t think those who are making it do, either. How you find out: See how many people change their mind and get the vaccine once it is fully authorized. I bet few do.
And then there are the wackos.
Some people believe that the vaccines contain microchips that will mind control/track/whatever you. This is such utter complete conspiracy theory bullshit that I can’t believe anyone is repeating it with a straight face. Haven’t you noticed there’s actually a chip shortage right now? How would they have managed to produce billions of chips for inclusion into a vaccine, made sure that everyone only got one out of a vial where five or six doses are taken, and what use would it be anyway? This is cockamamie wacko, and utter misinformation.
Some people believe that COVID isn’t all that bad and we’re being lied to about how bad it is. I will allow that this is not an entirely stupid opinion, but it’s stupid enough that I’m just going to call it wacko and be done with it. We’ve had millions of people die all over the world from COVID. It’s not just a bad flu. I’ve talked to people who have had it, personally, and they said they were the sickest they’ve ever been in their life. If you want to believe this and choose not to take the vaccine for this reason, then more power to you. But these people are telling other people this, and endangering the health of other people. This is misinformation.
Some people believe that the vaccine has much higher fatality rates than we’re being told. I will also allow that this isn’t an entirely stupid opinion, because I think the media and the government do downplay side effects just because of the kind of wackos I’m talking about here. But hundreds of millions of people have taken these vaccines, and even if you take them at face values, it’s not like people are dropping dead by the tens or hundreds of thousands after taking the vaccine. Nearly all people take it just fine. Repeating this bit of misinformation just endangers the health of other people.
And some people actually say that the vaccines are designed to kill everyone who’s taken them after a few years. This is such utter stupid bullshit that anyone who says it should be just removed from the Internet – and I don’t say that lightly at all. Repeating things like this has only one purpose, which is to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt. At the very least, do these people somehow think that the government – the head of which right now is barely competent enough to know what day it is – is competent enough to engineer such a massive conspiracy? Not happening.
The government’s approach to COVID and vaccines leaves much to be desired at the moment. They appear to be floundering and flailing around incompetently with no idea what they’re doing. This kind of incompetence is fertile ground for creating conspiracy theories and misinformation. And I have no respect whatsoever for those who are actively spreading misinformation that can cause people to die.
But at the same time, simply not wanting to take the vaccine for whatever reason is a personal choice, and it primarily only affects those who haven’t taken it. Ultimately, it’s their potential funeral. And I am really not keen on the government stepping in and deciding what’s best for people. Make your own choices. I support and bless that. But keep your misinformation to yourself – it’s helping no one, and hurting everyone who listens to it.
My personal opinion? I took the vaccine (Pfizer). I considered the risk of the vaccine – which I considered to be nonzero but low, against the risk of COVID, which considering a couple of comorbidities, I considered unacceptably high. And since it was available, I took it. No major side effects, no issues, but my mental health is a whole hell of a lot better. And isn’t that really what it’s all about, anyway?