Barring legitimate medical exemptions, there is no reason for eligible folks not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

No other excuses are compelling, and quite frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of hearing them.

Months and months ago, I could understand people’s hesitancy or distrust of a brand new vaccine. But the Pfizer vaccine has since been approved by the FDA, and studies have found over and over again that vaccination does not lead to adverse events for the vast majority of people. The vaccine is safe and effective.

An abundance of information regarding vaccination is out there. If you can’t be bothered to find it, then that’s on you.

But even easier than skimming through medical jargon is talking to people who have gotten the vaccine. There is living, breathing evidence all around you of the vaccine’s safety. Plenty of vaccinated people are more than happy to talk about their experience with you. (For what it’s worth, I was lucky enough to just have a sore arm for a couple days.) 

Some people will say that deciding whether to get vaccinated is a personal choice. I say it most definitely isn’t.

If I were late to work one day, I could certainly make the personal decision to speed during my drive in. I mean, if I lose control of my car and crash into a tree, I’d be the only one to suffer consequences, right? 

Except who’s to say I wouldn’t crash into someone else first and hurt or even kill them? The reason speeding is prohibited isn’t just because it endangers the person speeding, but because it creates an unsafe environment for everybody on the road. Anyone with half a brain could explain why going 90 in a 35 isn’t a “personal choice.”

Vaccination is similar. To reach herd immunity and prevent the further development of deadlier and more contagious variants, we need as many people to be vaccinated as possible. When you refuse vaccination, you’re prolonging the pandemic and making it more dangerous for everybody — not just yourself. An immunocompromised person or the parent of an infant too young to get vaccinated probably wouldn’t be very appreciative of your “personal choice” if you infected them with COVID-19. There’s nothing personal or private about a pandemic that’s touched millions.

I suppose the last objection to vaccination is conspiracy theories. And let’s be honest. I’m not going to cure anybody of conspiratorial thinking in a 600-word op-ed. So, my goal here is to encourage conspiratorial thinkers to ask themselves why they want to live life that way — in constant fear of some shadowy cabal or government elite trying to put microchips in you. Does it make you happy? Do you think those theories make you live life more safely? Do you feel that much safer than the rest of us? Or is it just exhausting?

This pandemic has been politicized to hell and back, and ever since a certain man descended a particular escalator, the American political climate has been the most insufferable it’s ever been. So I’d like to remind everyone of something: We don’t learn facts so we can “own” debate opponents with them. We learn facts so we can understand reality as it actually exists and navigate the world in a way that helps us achieve our goals. People who happen to be on the left end of the political spectrum aren’t telling you to get vaccinated because they want to start a political debate, or feel smarter than you. Grow up. We’re telling you to get vaccinated because we want to end a pandemic that should never have gotten this bad or gone on for this long.

Lives are at stake. And not just yours.



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