I got the Phizer vaccine. Both shots. Felt a little bad half of one day after the second shot and since then–nada. Truth is, the shingles shot walloped me a lot harder. But then shingles aren’t so great. I have talked to a lot of people who are unsettled about getting the shot in Alabama. They had a lot of different reasons. So I decided to write down a list. If I were worried or had questions about getting the vaccine, here is where I would go to settle my mind.
- Your doctor. Or a nurse or other health professionals (although some, surprisingly, have been hesitant, but not many).
- The local Health Department.
- Someone who does medical research (I know someone who actually does research on Covid. He says, “GET THE VACCINE!”).
- People who have had the shot whom you trust. Your pastor, rabbi, or other spiritual leader if they are wise, calm and reliable people. Your local medical school faculty and researchers.
- Your pharmacist.
- School leaders.
- People who are wise in your life and you tend to trust them. And I would listen to people who got the vaccine already and had enough time to tell you how it affected them.
- People over 65. People who have the most to lose got out there and got the shots.
Here is where I would avoid looking for answers
- Random social media. Remember, it’s only as reliable as the expertise of the person looking for information. A distrustful person will be attracted to paranoid websites. That’s how algorithms work. You don’t have to find them. They find you.
- Your friend who has definite opinions about everything, especially about what you ought to do.
- Your phone, cable tv, and the internet generally. Only because it is like going into Yankee stadium and asking random people what you should do with your health during the seventh inning stretch.
- People who are sure the world will end next Thursday. Or any other day ending in “y.” They don’t know and the Bible is clear that they don’t know.
- Your cranky uncle who you only see at Thanksgiving who forwards an email to you with his message, “I’ve been saying this for years.” Remember, he still thinks wrestling is real and the moon landing was fake.
- Anyone who says, “It’s a definite fact that…” followed by something weird you never heard before.
- If you’re under 45, your friend who says, “That’s for old people.”
- If you’re under 25, your cool friend who says, “We won’t get it.”
A lot of misinformation is out there. It underlines the truth–we have to make decisions based on confidence in someone else. No one figures it out themselves. Science is done in community, through trial and error and by growing consensus. Emotions are not too helpful in a decision like this. You need a clear head, some cold hard facts and a bit of rational sense.
Right now there are certainly people who have had the vaccine who tested positive for Covid. But if you go to the ICU, the people on the ventilators with Covid are almost all unvaccinated. Work it out in your mind from there.
We’ve all (or most of us) been getting vaccines and shots all our lives, for diptheria, tetanus, measles, Hep-A, B and who knows what else. We have come to have a healthier life through these efforts. This has been an exceptional time, and the pace of this one is so fast your head spins. It is understandable that people are confused. So why not start with the people you tend to rely on in your daily life? You’ll get a better answer than you’re liable to find on Instagram or Twitter.
Please consider getting this shot as a responsibility we all undertake for one another. I am without a single doubt anymore that it works, that it saves lives and that it is worth the risk. It is disheartening to listen to people operate out of emotion, personal opinion without knowledge and disinformation. Ultimately, this one is not a “well, I have a different point of view.” It’s settled. It’s not perfect but it’s our only shot at beating this thing. Just do it and we can quit talking about it.