Take the damn coronavirus shot, for your freedom and mine
By Mark R. Whittington
2020 was the second year made in hell I have lived through, the first being 1968. The coronavirus pandemic has, fortunately, been mostly an inconvenience for me and mine. A couple of people we know caught the disease, but both recovered nicely.
The advent of vaccines was the best news all year. Soon, we can hope, this long planetary nightmare will be over, and we can get back to the pleasures of going out to concerts, sporting events, and the movies.
However, it has come to my attention that some people are a little hesitant about taking the shots. Excuses range from a hesitancy about putting something into one’s body that was developed within months instead of years under Operation Warp Speed to rather bizarre conspiracy theories about microchips created by Bill Gates. The New York Post has reported that even some healthcare workers, who ought to know better, are refusing the shots.
My response to this skittishness can be expressed in one, simple statement: Take the damn shot!
I have never been able to understand the whole antivaxxer movement to begin with. When I was younger and more foolish, my Mom would take me to the doctor to get anything that would stave off illness, no matter what. That’s one reason I have not been incapacitated by polio or killed by smallpox.
Unfortunately, vaccines did not exist for childhood illnesses such as chicken pox, the mumps, and the measles. These were just things you got and had to endure. I got them, endured them, and they were no joke. I am happy that subsequent generations do not have to loll around in nausea while red dots mar their skin or have their salivary glands swell up the size of baseballs. The mumps kept me down for four horrible weeks, and I barely was able to make the school Christmas party (yes, we had those back in the olden days.)
Ah, you antivaxxers might respond, most people recover from the coronavirus, so why risk a vaccine? This supposition is true, though there is no guarantee that you will not die drowning in your own snot alone and cut off from your loved ones with, if you’re lucky, a sympathetic nurse to see you to your reward.
Ordinarily, I am quite libertarian about what other people put in their bodies. Smoke dope, eat junk food, or guzzle cheap beer, it is all one to me so long as you don’t hurt other people. However, in the case of not taking the vaccine, you are hurting me and mine. Allow me to explain.
The experts (and yes, I know they have been often wrong, but in this case I think they are spot on) tell us that it is not a question of taking the shots and then being able to throw away those damnable masks while dancing a jig, yelling, “I’m free! I’m free!” Enough people (the estimates vary) have to get vaccinated so that we achieve herd immunity. The reason, I am told, is that even those who have been vaccinated can give other people the coronavirus, even if it doesn’t affect them.
In other words, until enough people get their shots, you and I will still have to wear that damn mask when going to the store. I can be responsible and get vaccinated (and believe me the opportunity cannot come soon enough) and it will not change things until enough of you people do the same.
Here’s a personal freedom argument. Until we reach herd immunity, the pandemic will serve as an excuse for politicians and bureaucrats, especially in the blue states, to keep us on lockdown, keep businesses closed, and generally inflict misery on the rest of us while they flout their own rules. I’m talking about Gavin Newsom, governor of California, and the odious slayer of old people, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, among others.
My final advice. Take the damn shot! And, you people in the blue states, turn those bozos you elected out of office at the first opportunity. Take the shots and take back your freedom.
Mark Whittington, who writes frequently about space and politics, has published a political study of space exploration entitled Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? as well as The Moon, Mars and Beyond. He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner. He is published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, USA Today, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other venues.