Why the unvaccinated are taking a political stand

Unvaxxed

Back in early January of this year, I was pretty excited to snag an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at Mercy Hospital. Nimble fingers and computer savvy allowed me to find a time on the county health department website and complete the registration form before someone beat me to it.

So, I was able to secure both doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the end of January. Mercy ran the operation incredibly well and only allowed us to enter the facility within 15 minutes of our appointment.

That meant there were virtually no lines. Much appreciated, Mercy.

Similar vaccination sites were set up around the city, including a giant operation at the fairgrounds that could vaccinate hundreds at a time.

Then what happened?

Despite evidence that shows the COVID vaccines are incredibly effective, the numbers of people flocking to vaccine sites quickly dwindled. Health care providers anticipating a crush of people seeking protection from the potentially deadly COVID virus sat idly, waiting for patients who never arrived.

The need for vaccination sites that could handle hundreds at a time evaporated and most closed up shop. Now you can schedule a vaccination at your local Walgreens or CVS and have no trouble finding open time slots.

Oklahoma vaxxedI just peeked at the numbers, and while 46 percent of my fellow Oklahomans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, less than 40 percent of us have been fully vaccinated against COVID.

Those are pretty disappointing numbers, but I’m not surprised.

Just like wearing of masks over the past 15 months or so, getting the vaccine has been turned into a political statement. And we’re a Red state.

When I hear people say they don’t trust the vaccine or how it was developed, that’s not the real message I’m receiving.

To me, there’s no doubt that these are the same people who supported Donald Trump and bought into his BS about the COVID-19 pandemic being a hoax, yada, yada, yada.

Sure, there may be some people who are merely procrastinating.  But when you look at maps that show low rates of vaccination, the standout states with low numbers match up pretty well with the Red states that supported Trump.

And we’re watching COVID infections rise dramatically in the Trump hotbed states like Missouri, across the South and in Oklahoma.

So, what are the implications?

Well, we’ll watch our neighbors and our elderly relatives get sick. Some will die.  Even those of us who are vaccinated are at risk of infection because of our unvaccinated fellow Oklahomans.

All because of their proud vaccine resistance that has its roots in the Trump insanity.

A story in today’s edition of The Oklahoman reports a new poll that shows that the majority of unvaccinated Americans say they do not plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 56.5% of Americans have gotten at least one dose, and 43.5% have not received one. Of those people, a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 35% say they probably will not get the vaccine, and 45% say they definitely will not.”

As one who is proudly vaccinated, I reluctantly keep my mask at hand. I fear more disruptions loom in our future. All because of the unwilling who are making a political statement by shunning the vaccine.

So, what’s the point of all of my rambling?

What we’re seeing in the unvaccinated is a collective display of the Ugly American. The me-first. The selfish who would never consider doing something for the greater good.

That’s ‘merica. That’s “freedom,” as defined by Oklahoma Gov. Stitt.

Sadly, the pandemic is far from over. And it’s no fault but our own.

The second dose

The scene at Mercy Hospital as I waited 15 minutes with others who had received the second dose before leaving the site.

I’ve been hearing horror stories about the impact of the COVID vaccine on recipients.

“Everyone who got the vaccine in Western Oklahoma has had terrible side-effects,” was the word that came to me.

Allegedly, many people were hit with vertigo, among other dreadful-but-vague side effects.

My own mother, who lives in Fort Smith, Ark., also warned me of the side effects. She is 87 years old and refuses to consider receiving the COVID vaccine.

Naturally, all this side effect “news” came to me as I was preparing to receive the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this past Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Anyway, I showed up at Mercy Hospital at the appointed time on Wednesday and within a few minutes was sharing a table with a nurse who was holding a hypodermic needle.

She told me to expect some limited reaction to the second dose before she plunged the needle with the vaccine into my arm. My body already had antibodies stirred up by the first dose, apparently.

Fast forward to Thursday. I woke up and felt as if I had been run over by a truck. Actually, it felt like the flu. Muscles and joints ached. I had zero energy. Low grade fever.

I postponed a meeting scheduled for the afternoon. I wondered if the warnings of my family naysayers were correct?

I went to bed about 8:30 that night.

However, when I awoke on Friday, all those symptoms were gone. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle my day. By afternoon, muscle aches returned, but nothing that dragged me down.

Now it is Saturday, and I’m feeling even more on top of my game.

Yes, the second dose packs a punch. But don’t panic if you awake on the day after feeling miserable.

I predict it will pass quickly, and you can resume your life confident that your odds of suffering any lasting impacts from the COVID virus are greatly reduced.

I know I am. Thank you, God (and science).