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Choosing to get vaccinated


I just returned from a three-day visit to hell (aka California) for a work reunion, and COVID was the biggest topic of discussion, just ahead of the rampant crime problem. I was in Los Angeles County where they had just reinstated the mask mandate for everyone, even those who have been vaccinated. That mandate has caused tremendous confusion and resistance.

The media will tell you that the resistance to the vaccine is a partisan issue. The prevailing media theory is that conservatives are refusing, or at the minimum, reluctant to get the shot, while liberals embrace the vaccine. I call BS on that theory! I just visited one of the most liberal counties in the nation and can comfortably state that everyone, regardless of political ideology, has a differing opinion regarding the vaccine. Let’s look at that.

Across the board (and regardless of political ideology), the people I spoke with were confused by the mandate that vaccinated people had to continue to wear masks. Virtually everyone I spoke with wondered why, if they had been vaccinated, they still had to wear a mask. They had been assured that the vaccine would protect them and others from the virus. These people had been told that if they received the vaccine, they likely would not spread, nor fall victim, to COVID. Now they were being told to continue to wearing masks. Their obvious question, “Does that mean the vaccine isn’t really as effective as we have been told?” Authorities in California were stupidly, yet predictably, shocked by that response.

To be fair, we have to remember that this all happened in California, where the politicians are known to overreact to everything. In this instance, it was an uptick in COVID cases. I want readers to understand that I personally believe that this vaccine is a good thing. The political response is not! The way I see it, everyone is different when it comes to this vaccine and an individual’s political affiliation has nothing to do with the decisions they make. Case in point: I have a cousin who is my polar opposite politically. However, she has some underlying health issues that make her reluctant to get the vaccine. That doesn’t make her a bad person who is willing to jeopardize the health of others. Her reluctance simply means that she’s weighing the personal benefits of receiving the vaccine against the potential negatives.

As I write this, I haven’t yet been vaccinated. However, by the time this is printed, I will most likely have received my first shot. I’ll offer my own thought process here in an effort to explain why I believe everyone’s decision is different and has nothing to do with political ideology.

First, I had COVID last fall. I still have the antibodies, so I haven’t felt any urgency to get the vaccine. Secondly, a few people I know have had a minor reaction to the vaccine (a lethargic feeling that only lasted a short time and I want to stress the fact that none of these reactions were at all serious). My selfishness is part of my decision process here. I’m a very active guy, so it’s really difficult for me to consider setting aside a day or two to sit on the couch feeling puny, instead of being outside. Finally, we live in such a small and safe community that I never felt that I needed to rush to get the shot.

There it is in a nutshell. My reasoning has nothing at all to do with my political ideology. Also, I don’t have any fear whatsoever of vaccines. On the contrary, I’ve had the polio, shingles, hepatitis, and flu vaccines without a single bad reaction (although it’s never happened to me, I admittedly do consider the possibility of feeling sick when I get the flu shot). My reasoning doesn’t make me right or wrong. What I described here is just the way I view the topic from my own perspective and experience.

I’ll be getting the vaccine soon and I believe others should, too. That said, another person’s decision on this particular topic is their own. I respect that. I recognize that what’s right for me isn’t going to be right for everyone else. For me, it’s like smoking. I’ve chosen not to, yet I have family members who still do. As much as I might hope that they quit, at the end of the day, it’s their own life and choice. Smokers know that their decision to smoke is an unhealthy one. They do it anyway and for their own reasons.

Based on all the considerable reading I’ve done, I’ve come to understand that a person receiving the vaccine is at least 90% to 95% (or higher depending on the study) safe from catching or transmitting COVID and will have minimal symptoms in the unlikely event they do get the virus. Therefore, the way I see it, anyone choosing not to receive the vaccine is only a risk to him/herself or another unvaccinated individual.

One final point. I personally trust this vaccine. That’s why I’m not reluctant to get it. I think that former President Trump did a phenomenal job putting together “Operation Warp Speed.” It seems to me that our last president quite effectively demonstrated what could be accomplished if the burdensome regulations were set aside. Without that extraordinary decision, we’d be way behind the power curve in terms of the progress we’ve made against this disease. I don’t believe that he gets the credit he deserves.

Blaine Blackstone is a retired Los Angeles Police Sergeant who enjoys the simpler life in Thompson Falls.


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