We’ve heard about people getting shamed for jumping lines and cheating to get their vaccine, but what about shaming someone for not getting it?
Last month a good friend of our family sent me a text letting me know he had an appointment to get his first vaccine. I’d been working on convincing him to get the vaccine for a few months as he was eligible first because he’s a paramedic/firefighter alongside my husband. His daughter is like another child to me, and since this pandemic has started it’s been difficult getting the kids together because we have a handful of people in my family with underlying health conditions, including a daughter living with a heart condition. So, I was very happy that he’d decided to get the vaccine because this would be one step closer to us getting together comfortably again.
Once I became eligible for the vaccine, I quickly scheduled my appointment, and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I’m a person who watches everything I put in my body, and getting this vaccine made me nervous. The introduction to anything strange in my body always causes an uproar. Having autoimmune disease, I knew I’d be taking a chance on possible flare-ups because not enough studies were done on people with those disorders. I reminded myself that my husband, mother, and other family members had received the vaccine. We were all getting it, and knowing this gave me added courage to follow through.
That morning it was a challenge to force myself out of bed, but I got into the the car and drove myself to the community center for my Moderna shot. Everyone there was amazing, and much of my anxiety faded by the time I landed in the chair for my vaccine. Driving home, I had some arm soreness and fatigue, but for the most part everything was fine. The following week was a different story. All hell broke loose when what seems like an autoimmune flare took over my body and threw me into a hyperthyroid state. I had trouble sleeping for a week and had many strange heart arrhythmias which almost always became worse in the middle of the night. Palpitations, anxiety, feeling overheated and overwhelmed—It was like the absolute worst all over again. These symptoms had been non-existent for quite a long time. I told myself that no matter what, I did the right thing, because I do believe that I’ve given myself some form of protection against this unpredictable virus. I’d done my part to help prevent myself from infecting others. I’m still dealing with the after effects of whatever happened inside my body.
My friend’s excuse from the beginning is that he doesn’t trust the vaccine. He doesn’t trust the government either and feels that the vaccine won’t do anything for him or change what he’s doing now. I’ll admit, it does seem like we’ve all been in ‘learn-and-go’ mode since this thing started, but to me, him skipping the vaccine is unacceptable. He has no underlying health issues other than being a little overweight, and he just doesn’t have a good argument in my mind to not get the vaccine. Going on ambulance calls and frequent trips in and out of the hospital obviously puts him at higher risk. Why wouldn’t he get the vaccine? He understands how serious viruses can be, and he’s taken scads of people to the hospital who have died from this virus. Isn’t he concerned about his little daughter? I’ll also point out that he has many family members with serious medical conditions.
After I received my vaccine, he praised me via text, and then told me he’d decided against getting vaccinated once again, even though he was scheduled. Needless to say, it upset me. We got into a heated conversation about it and how ridiculous I thought it was. All I continued to think about was how many handfuls of needles our kids have been impaled with due to vaccinations, and here we are balking at one measly shot. Rather than think about why he didn’t want the vaccine, all I could think about was why he needed it. This isn’t just about him; it’s about all of us. Aren’t we important? Aren’t we worth it?
The subject was dropped. I decided to let it go because of course it isn’t right to hold it against him, but inside it does niggle me. Getting back to normal is important to me, and I do want all of our children to be safe. Nobody is 100% protected from this virus—not even kids. We all have the looming threat over our heads. Often we don’t know who will be severely affected by it until it’s too late. To me the vaccine makes sense.
With that said, “what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another” has always been one of my favorite quotes. I’m a firm believer in it, but getting this vaccination was more about protecting others (like my family) than it was protecting myself.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe in the vaccines? Is vaccine shaming wrong? Shouldn’t we be thinking about others and not just ourselves here?