I have been so certain that all my readers went right out and got vaccinated that I have stopped writing about coronavirus. Then, just the other day, one of my neighbors who is a regular FACTS reader told me she is not vaccinated on purpose. Okay, no one wants to be a part of an international pandemic, I understand that, but why would you risk your life over a shot?
So, who is this woman? There are some unkind stereotypes about the people refusing to get vaccinated. This is a lady. She has children and grandchildren that love her. She has a strong faith, and she bakes like an angel. So, how have society, the medical profession, the church, the public health department, the government, the CDC, her fully vaccinated family, and I failed in our messaging?
I am dedicating this column to my friend and all the other unvaccinated people. If I save one life it will be a blessing.
I don’t trust the government
When I asked my friend why she is refusing the vaccine, she said she doesn’t trust the government after what they did with the Tuskegee Experiment. That is one of the most infuriating moments in our history. There is no defending the decisions that allowed the Tuskegee Experiment. You can get more information at www.Blackpast.org but a basic difference is that, in the Tuskegee Experiment, Black men were singled out for denial of medical treatment. In this pandemic, people of all colors and nationalities throughout the world are being saved by receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.
I was tested. I don’t have the virus.
Today many employers are mandating COVID-19 vaccinations. Refusal to get the shot may get you fired. Some private employers are still allowing unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly tests to prove they are not positive for COVID-19.
But notice, to stay employed, these unvaccinated workers must retest every week. The reason is the test only tells you if you were exposed prior to the test. You could get exposed on the ride home from the testing site. One negative test last year or last month does not mean that today you are virus-free. The shot will protect your tomorrows.
The shots don’t work. People are still getting the virus.
I asked a doctor how he responds to this statement. He said he gives them the numbers so they can decide for themselves. According to www.Bloomberg.com, over 5.71 billion vaccinations have been given worldwide. Yes, there have been what are called “breakthrough infections,” which to a vaccinated person usually results in mild flu-like symptoms.
According to an NPR report, if you got your shot, the odds are one in ten thousand that, if exposed, you will have a breakthrough infection and one in a million that you will require hospitalization. A recent public health study showed if you are not vaccinated and test positive, the odds against you dramatically shoot up. Unvaccinated people are 50 times more likely to require hospitalization and, once in the hospital, 30 times more likely to die.
You can’t tell me what to do.
Well, this is an emergency, and it is a good thing to know what to do in an emergency. How many more innocent babies and mothers will die before we all get a COVID shot? Recently, eight young pregnant women died of COVID-19 in Mississippi. Some of the babies were saved through cesarean section but they will never know their mothers. Child death from COVID-19 in Mississippi has doubled. One simple, free vaccine could prevent this tragedy.
I’ve heard the shot can kill you.
The CDC has not found a direct causal connection between either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and death. Doctors are required to include whether a vaccine had been given before death, but they are not required to state how much impact the vaccine had on a death from underlying causes. However, there is overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 can kill you. In August, Texas health officials ordered five refrigerated mortuary trailers from FEMA because they could not keep up with the number of deaths.
Life is precious.
I would be devastated if I lost my friend because she refuses a shot. It’s a shot at life.
Contributor June Michel is a licensed civil rights lawyer in California and Washington who serves on the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. She is a tireless advocate for older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers. Her article was previously published in The Facts newspaper and is republished here with permission.
Aging and Disability Services trusts the communicable disease experts at Public Health—Seattle & King County. See their recent blog post, “Let’s Answer Those Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines,” on Public Health Insider.