A whole lot of hesitancy
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
It runs through my mind that every vaccine delivered takes us one step closer to having COVID-19 go the way of the whooping cough and mumps.
Every time a new iPhone drops the anticipation is palpable; it seems like everyone and their grandmother is counting down the days. Yet, when the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began I couldn’t sense the anticipation at all. As a matter of fact, I think many people were as apprehensive as I am. Then again, for some people, the COVID-19 vaccine meant that they could spend time with grandma, and their uncle, and the miscellaneous cousins spread about.
Now, I must say that I’m not an anti-vaxxer. What follows will not be a long and arduous screed of misinformation and gemstone science. I, like roughly 20 to 40 percent of LA frontline workers and a 21 percent of Windsor-Essex healthcare workers are what some would call “vaccine hesitant.” Though it’s clear to me—and I assume many of them—that vaccines have worked (do you know anyone with a polio stunted sibling?) it’s also clear to me that a bit of caution never hurt anyone.
I’m not particularly interested in being a test subject—at least not without proper compensation—and I’m certainly not going jump the line, being the strapping young lad that I am. Instead, I, like many people of color consider the history of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and the long history of forced sterilization alongside the current need for vaccination. Not only that, the old adage of “haste makes waste” weighs heavy on my mind when I consider the unprecedented speed with which this vaccine was rendered.
Clearly, I am aware that it is a modern miracle that we can find answers to these problems in increasingly shorter and shorter time frames, but I find that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to be among the first. There’s always a “just in case” for these things isn’t there? It’s like the first generation of any technology, there’s going to be at least one or two bugs that haven’t quite shown themselves yet, right?
On the other hand, I am almost willing to throw caution to the wind just to inch closer to my old normal life. Remember the days of yore, when a bunch of people would get together, someone would breathe on a cake, we’d sing a loud song about date of births and enjoy everything? I want that again. I could even go for a dark room, clearly too loud music with wall-to-wall other human contact for a turn or two.
It runs through my mind that every vaccine delivered takes us one step closer to having COVID-19 go the way of the whooping cough and mumps. Every injection a step closer to full eradication and subsequently resuming travel (save for the politicians and uncaring Instagram models who haven’t slowed down at all), increasing the likelihood of concerts and a return to our regularly scheduled beer pong.
All this is fine if the choice is mine. These hard decisions and questions become far too easy (and probably in the wrong direction) if one of these so called “vaccine passports” become real (which PM Trudeau is so far not fond of). The second it becomes an infraction on my right to choose and determine for myself, the answer will always be no. Reading that a senior partner of a law firm believes that it can be made mandatory at certain workplaces and firms does not bode well. However, balanced against this is the collective need for safety and a return to normalcy.
So, what is a poor boy to do? I guess I can start by thanking my lucky stars that I am nowhere near the top of the list to need to make this choice right now. But when that day comes, will I do right by me or do right for me?