Should everyone get the vaccine?
Yes! All right, everyone, thanks for checking out this week’s edition of The Political Joe!
Haha, just kidding!
I would like to do something a little bit different today. I would like to just have a little conversation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Not in a way that will require us to do any research, pull up statistics, bring up political ideology, or anything like that. Let’s just have a simple conversation about the COVID-19 vaccines and whether or not people should get them.
Within the past month or so, the dynamic regarding the vaccines has drastically changed amongst a large portion (still minority) of the population in the United States. There’s talking heads on TV and radio coming up with all sorts of reasons why people should not get vaccinated. This is, of course, after praising the government’s response on working with private corporations to get the vaccines developed. Also there just happened to be a VERY prominent TV personality who, in January, was complaining that the vaccine rollout was initially targeting essential workers (who most happen to be minorities). Thus, claiming that the US government was committing eugenics against white people.
So where does that leave us today? Most Americans have already been vaccinated, but there’s still a significant portion who just absolutely will not even entertain the idea. Of those, there seems to be a few major reasons why: they don’t trust the vaccine, personal freedom/vaccine is government overreach, and COVID-19 isn’t dangerous.
Recently, there was a Reddit post titled “McMaster wants to prohibit door-to-door vaccination efforts in SC”. The post is referring to a statement by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster where he said “A South Carolinian’s decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for them to make and not the government’s”. As expected, the whole post became a political battleground of conservatives and liberals arguing amongst themselves. Also as expected, no real conversations of substance were being had. It was mostly just each side bashing each other.
While I saw plenty of responses about why people weren’t willing to get vaccinated, I saw nothing that alluded to a scenario in which they would take the vaccine. So, I saw an opportunity to try to have some sort of meaningful discussion by asking “Quick question to all of those who are choosing not to get vaccinated: how many people would have to die for you to change your mind? Or if lives lost isn’t a factor at all, what would change your mind?”
Needless to say, nothing substantial came of that. Below are some responses I got.
While I obviously do not agree with these people at all, what frustrates me the most is that no one is willing to just talk about it. I’m sure that even if civil discussions were had, not many opinions would be changed. But, at least talk it out a little bit more so that maybe there could be a chance of a workaround or what I would say is probably more important at this time, just to calm things down. Since 2016, I’m sure most of you have experienced an overly heated debate regarding politics. We should strive to avoid that as much as possible without having to completely dismiss the topic at hand.
So that’s what we’re here to do today. I’m going to present my side of a “pro vaccination” discussion. As I said earlier, I’m not going to go into any crazy statistics, medical data, or anything like that. I just want to have a discussion like you would with a friend. So here we go.
I’m going to discuss 4 different topics regarding COVID-19 and vaccines:
- COVID-19 vaccine safety
- Personal freedom/government overreach
- Dangers of COVID-19
- Controversial vaccine topic
On COVID-19 vaccine safety:
First things first. Overall, vaccinations are pretty safe. We’ve been getting vaccines for different diseases, viruses, etc. for decades. The process clearly works. Companies are used to making vaccines all the time. Why would this be any different?
Early in the pandemic, I remember being a little skeptical about a vaccine being designed and produced so quickly. My initial reaction was basically thinking that these pharma companies would have to skip a lot of their normal safeguards to be able to pull this off. But as time went on, I started to think about it more. The process for developing and delivering vaccines has been around for a long time. This isn’t new. While it may seem like a quick turnaround given that this was a novel virus, all the basics of constructing and producing the vaccine were already in place. Even in the case of the MRNA vaccines, there were already companies working on this technology for years.
So I can understand a general hesitancy towards a vaccine that seemingly popped up out of nowhere, but after thinking about it, I don’t think it should be much of an issue. Also, if masses people start showing hesitation toward the field of medicine, that could be catastrophically bad. COVID-19 was the perfect example of what could happen. There were countless reports of people getting extremely ill or dying because of some “remedy” they had come across. That type of distrust of the medical field as a whole could lead us to a VERY dark place.
On personal freedom/government overreach:
So, this is one that I believe people actually think about the least. There are scores of people who just absolutely will not do something the government suggests based on the sole principle “They can’t take my freedom to choose!” This is one of the most absurd things to me. There’s PLENTY of things that we allow and encourage the government to force upon us. Let’s dive into this a little bit.
Why do I mostly have the assurance that someone won’t murder me while walking down the street? Well, the government has stated that people do not have the freedom to murder others. How is it that I generally don’t have to worry about getting sick after eating some chicken? Well again, the government has taken the freedom of allowing corporations to produce food stuffs in any way they see fit.
Basically, if you weren’t already aware. There’s two types of rights: negative and positive. An easy way to think of this is that positive rights are things that you’re provided (education, health care, food), and negative rights are things that you have the freedom to do without coercion (where to shop, to not be enslaved, free speech, be physically attacked). Negative rights are what come into play when speaking about vaccinations.
Before COVID-19, we were all pretty confident that we wouldn’t catch a life-threatening illness in public. This was because of negative rights put in place by enforcing or encouraging vaccinations. The same goes with getting murdered/physically attacked. Because the government has put into place a system that encourages people not to do harm to others, we can mostly live our lives without worry.
So why then, is this such a big deal in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine? My assumption is that this is just an excuse to mask the culture war stuff being pushed in the media. But again, it seems like something that I’ll never know since no one is willing to talk about it.
My second thought on this type of response is wondering whether these people would get vaccinated if the government played no roll whatsoever in the development or distribution of the vaccine. If we left it completely up to private enterprises to do all the work for us, would they then be willing to pay whatever is required to get vaccinated? Or even if it did somehow end up being free (lol no chance of that ever happening!), would the sheer lack of government encouragement entice them to get vaccinated?
On dangers of COVID-19:
I mean, I don’t even know where to begin. Like I said, I’m not going to look up any statics or anything, but last I saw over 600,000 people have died in the United States due to COVID-19. Whether or not these numbers are inflated a little bit shouldn’t even be a factor. That’s WAY too many absolutely needless deaths.
Then what about the long-term complications from COVID-19? There’s seemingly new articles every week about lingering health issues well after patients were no longer deemed as infected. I actually just read an article a couple days ago about kids and teenagers having many gastrointestinal issues post COVID. One mother said that her teenage son had been having diarrhea ever since being diagnosed with COVID, and their doctor has no answer.
This stuff is real. It’s not just misinformation or “fake news”. Even if people survive COVID, there’s still a chance that they will have to live with some life-altering side effect for the rest of their lives. Why then, should we actively prevent others from having the safety and peace of mind to not have to deal with these things? It’s not just you that’s being implicated here. It’s you and literally everyone else you come in close contact with. If it were something as simple as you not caring whether or not you get COVID, sure whatever. But that’s just not the case. The whole world is experiencing this together; your actions regarding COVID-19 have a substantial impact on everyone else.
Controversial vaccine topic:
And now finally, I’d like to discuss something that most people would find controversial, the idea of forced vaccinations. In the Reddit post I mentioned earlier, there were plenty of people responding with something along the lines of “I’m not going to let the government force me to get a vaccine!” Well, the proposed plan isn’t that at all. It’s completely voluntary. The line of thinking behind it is to reach help reach those people who either did not have the accurate information about where/when to obtain a vaccine or did not have the means of transportation.
But the idea of a vaccine mandate shouldn’t be completely off the table if the situation warrants it. Earlier I spoke about the potential for a mass of the population to have distrust of the medical field. If that happens and an even deadlier virus starts spreading, will enough people willingly get vaccinated? Or heck, at this rate, what about the COVID-19 mutations? Because of vaccine hesitancy and lack of vaccine equity, there are many places around the world where there’s ample opportunity for the virus to mutate into something deadlier and more transmissible.
Just to give my personal opinion, unless some new super crazy mega virus comes into existence, I do not believe that governments should impose mandatory vaccine mandates. But, I don’t think that should ever even be a concern. Before COVID-19, I generally thought that in this type of scenario, everyone would just do what’s in the best interest of all of humanity and get vaccinated. Unfortunately, that’s obviously not the case.
Like I said earlier, a conversation such as this is not very likely to actually change someone’s opinion right away, if at all. But, the point of something like this is that each party can see each other as actual humans rather than the embodiment of their opposition. And who knows, maybe someone will reflect on the conversation down the road and see things differently. Also, not being able to hold a conversation and resort to name calling and bickering is pretty childish. My children are 4 and 7 and bicker like that A LOT! I really don’t need more of that while just going about my day.
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