The coronavirus vaccine is nearly here. There’s rumours it could land for us NHS workers in the next two weeks. And my current source of utter gobsmacked boggling bemusement is that some people who are able to have the vaccine are actually dragging their heels about it. It would make more sense to me if there were already a queue forming outside the GP surgeries and people fighting in the street to be the first in line. But then again people have spent the last eight months demonstrating they don’t know how far two metres is and don’t understand that the mask needs to go over your nose, so perhaps I am expecting too much.
I get that people are concerned about potential unknown side effects. Yet none of the volunteers suffered any unexpected side effects (many felt a bit feverish afterwards or had a sore arm, like with the flu vaccine) and I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a vaccine having side effects that don’t manifest until months after administration. It seems to be a case of fear of the unknown, because of course no one can ever be sure that something won’t go tits up when absolutely everything has the potential to go tits up. But people are more scared of a non-specific something that almost certainly won’t happen than a specific something that is already happening and that will continue to get worse if people don’t accept the vaccine. I am trying to put my Understanding Hat on when I hear things like this. People’s mental health is down the toilet, the government can’t be trusted and of course people are going to be scared and suspicious even if there’s no rational reason to be. I tell myself that being apprehensive over the vaccine doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is stupid or selfish. But I admit I am finding it hard to keep my cool.
Things people say that make my head want to explode:
“But they found a vaccine too quickly!”
What do people want, another 50,000 deaths while we wait? They found it quickly because it was an emergency. This article explains in detail how it went through so quickly – in summary, it says that it went through quickly because it was prioritised, most of the time sitting around waiting for someone to do something was cut out. They also apparently cut the animal trials and went straight to humans which is certainly a good thing for the animals but meant more of a risk for the volunteers. If any of those volunteers are reading this, I want to say a huge thank you for taking that risk and putting others before yourself.
“I’d rather wait to see what the side effects are on other people first”.
Well, the good news for most of you is that if you’re young and not a care/NHS worker, you’ll get a bit of time by default. But at some point you will be offered the vaccine and that position on the fence has got to turn into a yes or a no. You can’t wait years. There isn’t time, this is happening now. If your car was broken and the only place to fix it was a brand new garage, you wouldn’t carry on driving it for a year whilst seeing how other customers of the garage fare, would you?
“But I don’t need it, I’m healthy and would survive the virus”
The people you pass it on to might not be as lucky. Also bear in mind that as many of 10% of patients develop Long Covid, something akin to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and plenty of these were perfectly healthy and at low risk of dying. Dying is not the only thing we need to fear.
“I should be able to choose! Don’t bully me into having the vaccine!”
People should be allowed to make choices when it comes to their own health, even if those choices are unwise. But vaccination isn’t just about your own health, it’s about protecting the people around you, and in this case, ending the pandemic. I don’t like the idea of mandatory vaccinations, or of punishing people for refusing (especially if that refusal is the result of mental health problems). But I also feel that unless forced or coerced, people aren’t going to do the right thing.
“But the lockdown is killing more people than coronavirus!”
How do we end the lockdown? We end the pandemic. How do we end the pandemic? We get our vaccines!
Or perhaps you want the lockdown to carry on, in which case, fine. Stay unvaccinated, stay at home, don’t see anyone and don’t do anything.
“Bill Gates will insert a tracking chip into your arm and anyway coronavirus is a hoax”
Oh piss off you utter moron and fuckwit. My hat of understanding just fell off. I have absolutely zero time for idiots like you and hope natural selection will do its thing.
It’s hard to keep my spirits up. For the last few months I’ve seen the vaccine as the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew the lockdowns would only stop the numbers spiralling out of control, not eradicate the virus entirely (as some seemed to think). Now it seems we’ve reached that light and people are just going to stay in the tunnel anyway. They’ve got a way out, but they’re choosing not to take it. Perhaps enough of us will have our vaccines for their actions not to count. Perhaps not. And then how will this end? WILL this ever end?
I imagine a world in five million years where a new super species has evolved from snails. The super snails learn about humans in school. They learn that the dinosaurs died out through no fault of their own, but the humans, on the other hand, were the architects of their own demise. They took their planet, polluted it, destroyed their habitats and abused the other creatures on it for their own pleasure. Eventually they caught a disease from one of the animals they ate, and while they could easily have overcome this disease, it was beyond their tiny brains to do so. The snail children’s eyes were out on stalks as they saw photos of mask use on the 158 bus and an antivax rally in Trafalgar Square, and everyone agreed that it was probably for the best that they died out before they did any more damage.