Over the last several months, health experts and political leaders have been telling us what to do in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We’ve been ordered to shut down, attend school and work from home, keep our distance and — how could we ever forget — wear a mask.
While much of their advice has been helpful and necessary, I’d argue some did nothing but hurt our economy. For example, masks work. That was proven by our friends at Piedmont Newton Hospital. The health care facility instituted a universal mask policy, which led to zero cases started within the hospital. Sure, there were employees to get the virus, but it was from an outside source — like a trip to the grocery store where not everyone was wearing a mask.
Businesses being forced to shut their doors did not truly help slow the spread of COVID-19 like they thought it would. In fact, look to New York for proof. Data shows that although thousands of people were forced to quarantine and stay at home, those people were still getting the virus.
Now we’re all being encouraged to take the vaccine that was recently created and approved — one by Pfizer and the other by Moderna.
When someone asked if I would be vaccinated, I said, “No.”
This isn’t because I don’t trust the world’s leading experts who produced the vaccine. This isn’t because I don’t know what exactly is in the vaccine. This isn’t because I’m scared of needles, and this isn’t because I think the government is using the vaccine to put trackers in us or any other wild conspiracies floating around out there.
I choose not to take it because I believe it’s the best option for me.
I’ve taken an influenza vaccine one time, and that year when I contracted the flu I felt worse than ever before, so I never took it again. Since that time, I’ve handled my rare cases of the flu quite well.
Before going further, let me be clear. I don’t share this to intimidate anyone. My goal is not to misinform or cause a stir.
I will never tell someone they should or should not get the vaccine, because 1) I’m not your doctor and don’t know your health history, and 2) I’m not a science or health expert who is well-versed on the subject.
I’m simply the publisher of your local newspaper, and all I’m sharing is a piece of advice: do what’s best for you.
I’m 26 years old with no underlying illnesses or health problems. So the chances of me contracting the novel virus and it taking a major affect on me is slim. That’s another reason I’m comfortable with not getting the vaccine, or at least waiting until I feel it’s necessary.
Now, if your doctor says it’s imperative that you get the vaccine, then listen to your doctor. Block out all the other noise around you and, please, don’t believe everything you see on social media.
And by all means, if you’re confident and have no doubt about getting the vaccine, I applaud you and wish you well. As I write, we’ve already seen the vice president and other top officials publicly take the vaccine to show it will cause no harm.
But if you have reservations about the vaccine and feel like you need to wait, then wait. Talk with your doctor about it. Pray about it. Do your own research if you want. There’s no need to rush into something that you’re unsure of, regardless of the situation, and it isn’t mandatory — for now, that is.
Should the vaccine be mandatory?
That’s a good question that I’m sure will be a major talking point across the nation in the coming days. My answer is no. Personally, I think it should be handled like the flu vaccine and any others out there, which are available to all but never forced on any.
I look at it like a driver’s license. Everyone has the opportunity to get their driver’s license when they turn 16 years old. Everyone could probably use a driver’s license. For some, like me, it’s absolutely a necessity. But it’s still optional. No one forces you to go take the test. If you want, you can wait til your age 17, 18, 50 or older. And if we’re being honest, some people just do not need to drive.
If we start forcing a vaccine onto people, you could make a case that it would be an infringement on Americans’ rights. I believe mandating the vaccine would send the wrong message and deter many folks who need to strongly consider taking the vaccine from doing so.
Let’s put it another way: if you think getting people to wear a mask is difficult, just imagine what forcing a vaccine on them would be like.
Taylor Beck is editor and publisher of The Covington News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.