Let me start with the obligatory disclaimer: I’m not against you or anyone else getting a COVID shot. This is not a column to dissuade you, judge you, or impugn you if you have, will, want to, or won’t get the shot. I’m just a guy who watches and comments on the news for a living and I have questions that haven’t been satisfactorily answered to my understanding.
Now, may I continue without being turned over to Jen Psaki’s Ministry of Truth in violation of the misinformation codes?
How can anyone from your neighbor to officials in the Biden administration talk about this pandemic while completely ignoring the southern border? But they sure are. Constant harping on the rapid spread of a new variant and the irresponsibility of those who won’t get the shot, but never once acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated pouring across our borders illegally every month?
These people are arriving not only unvaccinated against COVID, but it’s safe to assume unscreened for a whole host of maladies from whooping cough to head lice. The government then scatters them like a handful of grass seed across the lower forty-eight states and we’re all supposed to pretend that doesn’t exacerbate the spread of a highly contagious virus?
In the last couple of weeks we’ve discovered major league baseball players, Olympic athletes, Texas Democrats, and White House and congressional staffers have all tested positive for COVID. All of them vaccinated, yet all contracted and even transmitted the virus anyway. Kamala Harris was exposed to the Texas group and was rushed to the hospital for testing. Why? She got the shot, right?
When I bring this up I get an earful of, “Nobody said the vaccine was 100% guaranteed!” That’s true enough, but it’s also true nobody said, “Get the shot and you’ll likely still have to wear masks and worry about new variants you’ll catch despite the shot.”
I also hear, “The shots are meant to keep you out of the hospital if you contract COVID. It’s to keep you from dying!” I see. Then can we agree this no longer fits the definition of “vaccine?” That’s a shot. Like the flu shot the corner drug store nags you to get annually. So can we call it a shot and be honest about what it might or might not do?
Can we be honest we’re not entirely clear how long lasting the shot is or if there are long-term side effects? Or if we’ll need regular shots as boosters? Can we be honest that while this virus has killed a great many people, it’s still a statistical anomaly it will kill most people? Can we discuss herd immunity and natural antibodies anymore or are those concepts verboten?
I also wonder about the claim the shot will make COVID less serious if I catch it. Isn’t it true most healthy people who catch COVID won’t experience serious illness or death anyway? So, if I’m a reasonably healthy person (and yes, I realize there are anecdotal stories where this isn’t universally true) – isn’t it accurate to say with or without the shot my likelihood of surviving COVID is extremely high?
“But why take the risk,” some bark. “Why do you care,” I reply. If the shot makes you and those you love feel secure, why isn’t that sufficient? Why must I do what you do for your safety? It makes no sense. Unless you doubt the shot’s efficacy?
Then there’s the matter of my kids. The FDA’s emergency use authorization says kids twelve and up should run out there and get their shot, too. Some are even cheering the idea of allowing kids to do so without parental approval.
There’s palpable excitement to rush emergency use authorization for kids under twelve as well. Wait, didn’t we spend most of the last year with the one common understanding kids weren’t dramatically impacted by the virus? Weren’t there serious questions as to whether they could even spread the virus?
“That was before the variant,” they shout. “OK, and what if there’s another variant,” I reply.
As of last count approximately four hundred young Americans under the age of eighteen have died from COVID complications. In response to that statistic, CDC Director Walenski testified, “No children should die.” Ideally, sure - and no houses should catch fire and no swimmers should drown and no one should drive slowly in the passing lane on the highway.
When Kansas Senator Roger Marshall asked Walenski how many of those four hundred were otherwise healthy children before contracting COVID she said she didn’t know. But shouldn’t she? The answer is none. No kids have died from COVID who didn’t have preexisting conditions. Why doesn’t that matter in the discussion? And why are all kids recommended to mask up again this fall regardless of vaccine status? What’s the point of it all?
I’m not trying to mislead or scare or shame anyone when discussing COVID and the shot. I pray everyone stays well and does what’s best for them and their families in consultation with their doctors. But it seems a fair number of my fellow Americans and government officials view people like me as an enemy simply because I have perfectly reasonable questions.
They brand my questions as “misinformation” while demanding I shut up and “do the right thing.” But somehow I doubt this bullying is out of concern for my well-being. In fact, I suspect a good number of these folks would be all-too-happy to see something happen to someone like me just for the “told you so” satisfaction.
The fact is millions of us have questions. Many more than I laid out here. We’re not shutting up. We’re not going away. We’re not going to be shamed into submission. Americans have never been in lockstep. We have a proud tradition of individualism and independent thought. If you believe a less than one-year-old shot for an as-yet-to-be-understood virus should change that tradition, I have one more question.
What’s the matter with you?