This baffles me.
I know I’m stating the obvious, but it’s been an odd couple of years. More than a couple, to be honest.
I am trying to lean on empathy and compassion, always better choices than anger (and its central source: grief). So I am not going to blame anyone who has chosen to purchase the snake oil medicine (I reserve sharp condemnation for its salespeople).
But I have to give myself a moment to vent about what is so baffling.
If ten years ago, I told you that we would face a pandemic that would kill one in every 500 American and cause severe illness and in some cases long term disability in countless others, this is what you would say: Gosh, I hope they come up with a vaccine for it.
They did. They did come up with a vaccine. Multiple options, actually. It was a modern miracle how quickly they were able to do so while still taking care to go through all the testing procedures to reduce risk of harmful side effects.
Wow, you might say. That’s wonderful. I mean, of course, no vaccine is perfect, but it could stop the spread and prevent…
I’m going to stop you there. These vaccines were unusually effective. Not perfect, but effective, and the risk of the disease is far far far worse than any side effects of the vaccine. We also know that vaccine side effects are limited to the initial months after the vaccine is administered.
Oh, you say, that’s great. Of course, I understand that there might be a few people hesitant at first to try the vaccine. They might need to wait a few months to see how it goes. They might need to see what happens to people who get the vaccine.
Yes, that’s fair. Some people know they are unusually sensitive to drugs and just need to see what happens with widespread use. I mean, I went and got a vaccine the earliest I could because I did not like my odds with Covid19, but I guess I can understand wanting to wait a month or two as long as you go to great length to avoid contact with others until you get vaccinated.
And? How did it go with widespread use?
Really well, I say. Billions of people have safely been vaccinated. And it’s been more than 8 months since the first person received a vaccine.
Billions!! That must have been reassuring.
Well, a more infectious variant arose that does cause some of them to get a little sick. In statistically rare cases, worse.
Those are pretty impressive results in the face of a new variant. Did that cause people to question the vaccine?
Well… the trouble is, there are people now who simply won’t trust any vaccine. Not because of anything that’s actually happened but, well, I’m not sure I can explain why not.
That could be a problem. I mean, any vaccine? Weren’t vaccines what we would count on to solve this challenge? I mean, look at polio.
Yes, it is baffling.
Is it the cost?
Well, in the U.S., everyone can get a Covid19 vaccine for free, actually.
But if you get sick of Covid19, that can bankrupt you if you don’t have the right insurance.
Yikes. That should make it easy for them…
I’m going to stop you there. No, instead anti-vaxxers are taking horse dewormer.
What? And ewww.
Yes, instead of a free vaccine with a success rate in the billions (which are numbers, to be honest, beyond what I can comprehend), they are taking something that makes them sick and has no credible evidence of helping with the disease. At most, there are people who say maybe it helped them.
Um, you say, I’m all for personal stories and the insights they provide to inspire more extensive research, but couldn’t I get better for lots of different reasons? I mean, I could decide that sitting in the sun is what healed me?
Yes, yes, you could.
That wouldn’t mean it’s true, even if you like me better than the people who are telling you about the vaccine.
But… but… but…
I told you this baffles me.
Well, is there anything else they can do other than take the vaccine?
They can wear a mask.
Is it a heavy mask? Is it expensive? Is it harmful in any way?
Just a mask? Like a surgical mask? Like the kind that has been around and been helpful for centuries? You don’t have to swallow anything? You don’t have to deal with any side effects, just wear an additional garment of clothing?
Does it actually help?
Yep. (See below)
Do they do it? I bet they especially want their children to wear one. And to make sure everyone who comes near their children wears one.