Vaccine Hesitancy

Dance of Death

Pandemics have been around forever.  One of the earliest discovered was from 3000 BC, ironically in a village in China that was wiped out, killing everyone.  In 430 BC the Plague of Athens killed 100,000. The Antonine Plague 165 to 180 AD in the Roman Empire, killed as many as 10,000,000. The Plague of Justinian, 527-565 AD made several appearances said to have reduced the population of the world by 10%. The Black Death also made multiple appearances, starting in Asia and marching across Europe through Russia, France, and England. An estimated 60% of the world’s population succumbed to the Plague. The Spanish Flu, 1918-1920 infected 500,000,000, with 20% dying, the worst pandemic so far. There have been many more, at least 20 major pandemics, defined as a mortality of several millions up to 60% of an entire continent, and a few hundred of lesser pandemics and local epidemics. I don’t know if Covid 19 with 4,070,341 deaths (Johns Hopkins estimates to date) has yet made into the major league.

I am amazed by the resistance to vaccination. It is unbelievable that so many are willing to shoot themselves in the foot out of ignorance.  It is not a political issue. It is not a constitutional issue. It is a health life and death issue.  Vaccines have been around for several hundred years ever since Edward Jenner discovered that giving people an infection with a weaker virus prevents the deadly form of smallpox from killing you.  Absolutely everything we do just by living, does have risks. Lightning kills 1 person in 15,000. You are more likely to get killed by a Sunday drive in the country.  Car accidents have a lifetime risk of 1 death in 100 people. We all eat. The odds of dying from choking on food is 1 in 2535. Drowning, electrocution, and natural disasters all are risks we face every day, not to mention the myriad of all the allergic, traumatic, and other viral, bacterial, degenerative, and autoimmune diseases that lurk around every corner. 40% of humans get cancer sometime during their life, and anywhere from 20 to 50% will die of it depending on the type of cancer and at what stage it is discovered. The death rate of the vaccine is 1 in 3,500,000.  The risk of death if you get Covid 19 is 2% (1 in 50) for the unvaccinated and 0 for the Covid vaccinated. Does that give you a hint?

I do understand our right not to have anything injected into us. That would be a constitutional right, but by you exercising your constitutional right infringes with my constitutional right not to get the virus from you. That means you must stay away from me, and  I need to know who you are.  You will need to wear an armband, or better yet, a tattoo on your forehead, as well as a mask.

Everyone that goes to school must be vaccinated. Every military enlisted person must have multiple vaccinations, as I did when I was drafted during Vietnam. If you drive a car, you must be insured, and you must obey all the rules of the road. You are not allowed to walk around with a gun at your side. And you certainly cannot go around shooting people, and by extension, you cannot spray your Covid 19 on me.

Shifting the goal post in dealing with this pandemic has been confusing and admittedly unfair. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, wear two masks, keep a distance of 3 feet from other people, now keep a 6 foot distance, or maybe 15 feet. Unfortunately, science is not infallible and not always right.  It is an evolving field as new knowledge and new developments are introduced. When I learned my trade fifty years ago, I was taught the sum total of medical knowledge of the time. Fifty years later, most of that does not apply anymore.  If I did 90% of what I do as I learned it, I would be sued or, worse, go to jail. There are obligations and even mandates we must obey if we live in a communal society.  If we do not conform to the required standard, society has a right to take corrective action.  Depending on what risks we pose to our fellow man, society can reprimand us, imprison us, all the way to executing us, which by the way the constitution allows and is not unconstitutional, by far more of an infringement than having you wear a mask, I think.  I am surprised that lawsuits have not materialized if you can prove that someone or some institution contributed to your getting infected.

It is not comprehensible to me as to why the most vaccine-hesitant are Republican males and people of color.  It is because of Donald Trump’s efforts that the vaccines have become available as quickly as they have. And everyone in Trump’s family, including Donald Trump, has been vaccinated. A little more understandable is the distrust of the black population ever since Tuskegee.  Public announcements from Trump and prominent people of color, like our VP, to encourage vaccination would do a lot more than anything Anthony Fauci could say. It would save lives!

If you are not yet vaccinated, you have not educated yourself adequately, and are endangering others by your stubbornness. You are the one who infringes on my constitutional right to live in a safe environment and not to get infected. Everything we do has a risk-benefit ratio. I spent my entire professional life working within that risk-benefit equation. The risk-to-benefit ratio of getting vaccinated vastly tilts to BENEFIT for you and society. Take my word for it!