Why Should Anyone Care if People Get Vaccinated at This Point?

The debate we're having about vaccines makes no sense

It’s worth noting that by now, everyone who wants to get vaccinated in America has had an opportunity to do so. Other people don't want to get vaccinated for one reason or another. Those people are more likely to get COVID and more likely to get seriously ill with it than the people that have been vaccinated. In fact, by some accounts, 99% of the people ending up in the hospital with COVID these days are unvaccinated. However, it’s also worth noting that roughly 99% of the people that do get COVID will survive and the ones that do will (the research isn't 100% in) probably have an effect much like getting vaccinated for a while. Will surviving COVID be as effective as getting vaccinated? The honest answer is, “We don’t know yet,” but maybe.  

Now, there are two groups that may want to be vaccinated, but possibly can’t. Kids under 12 aren’t being vaccinated, but the reality is that they already seem to handle COVID better than adults that have been vaccinated. Then there are the people in America that are immunocompromised for one reason or another. It’s only about 2.8% of the population between 18 and 64 and per the CDC, most of them can still get the vaccine.

In other words, who is going to be potentially hurt if people don’t get vaccinated? Overwhelmingly, all indications seem to be that it’s mainly going to be the people that choose not to be vaccinated.

Personally, I am vaccinated, and I’d recommend getting vaccinated. I'd strongly recommend getting vaccinated if you are older, but it doesn’t bother me at all if people disagree. Why should it? Everyone has had the opportunity to get vaccinated at this point and now that classic P.J. O’Rourke quote starts to come into play:

Beyond giving people access to the latest data and trying to respectfully convince people of our positions, this is about where we should leave the issue because there is no magic bullet here.

If you want a world without COVID, maybe you’ll get it one day, but you can't have it now. If you want herd immunity and no variants, you can't have that either because even if every person in the United States were vaccinated, the variants would still spread in the other countries and eventually be flown here. If you are vaccinated or have already had it, the reality is that’s about as safe as it gets from COVID for a while.

Yet, the whole debate seems to be increasingly focused on attacking people that aren’t vaccinated. These recent headlines give you the gist of what we’re starting to see:

· As COVID cases surge, unvaccinated Americans trigger scorn, resentment from many vaccinated people

· President Biden To The Unvaccinated: You’re Not Nearly As Smart As I Said You Were

· Anthony Fauci Tells Anti-Vaxxers to Sit Down and STFU as COVID Cases Surge

· Alabama Republican Gov. Ivey says 'start blaming the unvaccinated folks' for rise in COVID cases

· As Virus Cases Rise, Another Contagion Spreads Among the Vaccinated: Anger

If you’re vaccinated, why would you be angry at people that are unvaccinated? After all, you are orders of magnitude more of a threat to give them COVID than they are to give it to you. Also, the “do it to make sure no one else gets sick” argument doesn’t work post-vaccine. If you want to minimize your chances of getting sick from covid as much as possible, then you should get vaccinated. The end.

Additionally, with half of our population fully vaccinated, the possibility that the unvaccinated will overwhelm the hospitals doesn’t seem very likely anymore either. What about the unvaccinated “causing” potential government shutdowns or masks? Well, those tactics pretty clearly didn’t work before we had a vaccine and there’s absolutely no reason to think they would work any better now. Masks are particularly ridiculous at this point. If the vaccine works, we don't need masks anymore to stop us from giving people COVID. Of course, if the masks had ever really worked, we wouldn't have needed the vaccine. If your local government is slapping ridiculous, unnecessary, guaranteed to be useless restrictions on you at this late date, that’s their mistake and you should blame them for it, not the unvaccinated.

What this all comes down to is that in reality, there is no good, logical reason for people to be upset at the unvaccinated at this point. In fact, I’d suggest to you that the majority of people that are angry with them fall into one of three categories.

There are certainly politicians who get off on ordering people around and love any excuse they can find to get bigger budgets, more power, and more control. These people secretly love COVID because it helps them achieve those aims.  

There are also Democrats who have noted the majority of the unvaccinated are Republicans and that makes them angry because EVERYTHING about Republicans makes them angry, so why should this be any different?

However, the third group of people in this situation may be the largest one and they probably have the purest, albeit somewhat most irrational, motives. There are a lot of people that are still absolutely TERRIFIED of COVID even AFTER they’ve been vaccinated. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, look at these tweets from last week. They will help give you some perspective on the different ways of looking at COVID that are out there:

The reality is that we’re surrounded by things that can kill us every day of the week. In 2020, 3,709 people died by drowning, 6,946 died by accidental suffocation, 7,846 died of nutritional deficiencies, 36,388 died of accidental falls, 40,231 died in auto accidents, and 64,795 people died of accidental poisoning. We spend all day surrounded by things that can potentially kill us. We could slip, fall, and die in the bathtub. We could choke to death on our morning muffin. We could die in a car wreck on the way to the office. A robber might kill us for our wallet between the car and work and so on and so on and so on. We’ve just baked all these outcomes into the cake and stopped worrying about them. On the other hand, COVID is big and new and different, so it scares some people to death and after they flip out, we get articles like, “As COVID cases surge, unvaccinated Americans trigger scorn, resentment from many vaccinated people.”

If you really believe we need to convince people to get vaccinated, “scorn” sure isn’t going to get them there. Neither are scientists like Anthony Fauci lying to the public for “their own good.” It’s exactly the opposite of that. It’s addressing people’s legitimate concerns openly and honestly -- and yes, everyone should recognize that there are some legitimate concerns about brand new vaccines that don’t even have full FDA approval. It’s trying to get all the information out to the public whether it reflects positively or negatively on a pro-vaccine position. It’s debating people with alternate opinions, not censoring them.

Quite frankly, that’s what we should have been doing all along: giving people the best scientific information we had available and then letting them make decisions about their own welfare instead of having hypocritical government officials ordering everyone around because “they know best.” Given how it all worked out, pretty clearly, they didn’t know “best” and they still don’t.

At the end of the day, no matter what, some people aren’t going to get vaccinated and you know what? That’s okay. As long as we all have access to the vaccine if we want it, there’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be allowed to make their own choices and accept the consequences. That’s how life is supposed to work.