“When are you getting the vaccine?” is the question I find myself being asked the rare times these days I find myself in a conversation.
When I’m feeling diplomatic I change the subject.
When I’m feeling honest and say “never,” I get looked at like I either just said I murdered an old lady on my way over here or that I said I voted for Donald Trump twice.
This universal disgust toward my hesitancy to inject experimental technology into my bloodstream has me reevaluating whether it is in fact me who is the crazy one and not everyone else.
Is it just that I watched too many movies and read too many comic books during my formative years that prevents me from “trusting the science”? Am I the ridiculous one for questioning how they can be certain there will be no long term side effects from a concoction that was made months ago? In my head the best case scenario is they rushed this vaccine without worrying about long term consequences or even discovered if the vaccine definitely works. When I’m feeling paranoid I start fretting there’s some sinister conspiracy afoot.
The cartoonists at the Florida Health Office assure me I have nothing to worry about.
This is being shared as a reasonable way to educate the ignorant among us who are hesitant to be poked and jabbed. But all I can see is Cold War era propaganda on why you should stop worrying and love nuclear power. This advertisement didn’t persuade me to make an appointment, instead it has me searching conspiracy websites on why they really want me to take the vaccine.
Maybe it’s just my previous experience with modern medicine that has me wary. When I have had insurance I have been taken care of and even kindly offered examinations I have not needed. When I lacked insurance my credit card limit was more important to the hospital than my heartrate. It always seemed to be all about the money. Has western medicine just trained me too well in that if treatment is free there must be something wrong with it?
A family member asked me what it would take for me to get a couple doses of the vaccine. It was a good question that I thought about long and hard. There is no price tag. The more money I was offered to take the vaccine the more suspicious it would make me.
Would the threat of being ostracized from society convince me to get vaxxed? No, this pandemic has taught me I can survive social distancing. I’ve missed playing basketball and poker and sitting in movie theaters and crowded parties, but not enough to risk my health. If I need a vaccine passport to travel I’ll get to know my neighborhood better. I will gladly wear a scarlet letter saying I’m not vaccinated. I will however refrain from getting a tattoo saying such as you never know if the ink might be laced by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
The only situation where I can honestly see myself voluntarily getting vaccinated in the near future was if the pandemic grew so bad that I saw people dying in the streets from Coronavirus. If it got that dire I would take the chance with the seeming lesser of two evils.
Does this make me stubborn? Yes.
Pigheaded? I guess.
An asshole? Please kindly refrain from calling me and others scared to take the vaccine such names until we are six feet apart or six feet under.
I guess it all comes down to a matter of faith. Scientists hate when you compare their field with religion, but the similarities seem obvious. Just as our forefathers were dependent on high priests and their holy texts to explain the ways of the universe so are we reliant on our scientists and their data points and field studies. As your ancestors couldn’t read their own interpretation of god’s word neither are most of us proficient enough to make sense of the vaccine studies. Perhaps you have faith that pharmaceutical companies have our best interest in heart?
I remain agnostic.
But maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical. I drink water straight from the tap. If the powers that be wanted to spread infertility, brainwash us or whatever other nefarious plot we can imagine, wouldn’t spiking the water supply be an easier route? Maybe for once big business and the world’s governments are looking out for us. They want us to get healthy and stay healthy. And selfish people like me are what’s holding society back from being how it used to be. That golden age where you could go shopping at Target or Whole Foods without a mask on.
So I should probably shut up, put on my big boy pants and get vaccinated. And then even if the vaccine doesn’t work as planned and numbers spike again this summer, over brunch I can join in on blaming the surge on all the people too stupid to get vaccinated.
And we can ask each other “When are you getting your COVID vaccine booster shot?”