On vaccines, predictably, two lines form

Sign me up; pump me up – that sweet, biotech nectar.

Anyone uneasy with it, step aside.

As my wife has remarked, oh, 10,000 times over the last nine quarantined months, the fact that many won’t take the shot for COVID-19 means a vaccine sooner for us so that our family can be one again.

With the approval of the first vaccine on our shores, two debates: (1) who should get it first; (2) why anyone should take it at all.

That so many say they’ll refuse vaccination is alarming. Just like all the other forms of dogged denial in this pandemic, it means extenuated suffering, more time before “normal” defines our lives.

We can see how this resistance is established. It’s embedded in Alexander Pope’s line, “A little bit of learning is a dangerous thing.”

Too many people have the means of finding, through Google or one’s chosen forum, just enough to affirm their suspicions.

In 1954 during the polio epidemic, when some people said we should trust herd immunity instead of a vaccine, a double-blind study of 1.8 million children came out with clear-cut results:

Vaccinated, children dodged the disease. Unvaccinated, life and limbs were at risk.

I can’t imagine what grief and guilt visited parents who rolled the dice against those odds.

Whatever he might say today or tomorrow, Donald Trump was an early anti-vaxer – tweeting back in 2014 about vaccines and autism with the clinical discernment of one who argues with fire hydrants.

Today Trump is pro-vaccine, apparently, except that he thinks “big Pharma” held up good news for after his defeat at the polls.

Know that he can convince one-third of Americans about that very thing.

This points to what outgoing Republican Virginia Congressman Denver Riggleman called a “contagion of disinformation” besetting the nation.

Trump will be ex-president shortly, but he will continue to be royalty. Refer to him henceforth as Donald, Archduke of Dishonesty.

It’s encouraging to see former presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton volunteering to be vaccinated publicly. To conquer this pandemic, we need role models, not a lame-duck president who refuses to admit he lost the election.

While acknowledging that, per normal, Americans are divided on vaccination, the other debate is over who should get vaccinated first.

In Colorado a tempest was stirred when state health department guidelines put prison inmates ahead of the general public (but behind critical workers and nursing home residents) for vaccinations.

This gave Republicans, led by former attorney general candidate George Brauchler, a cue to demagogically denounce Gov. Jared Polis for, I guess, coddling criminals.

(Republicans only coddle criminals who worked for Trump.)

Polis, a Democrat, quickly distanced himself from the guidelines. That was unfortunate. With their vulnerability to the virus and in our custody, of course we should vaccinate them promptly. They cannot quarantine in their homes.

As expected, other issues have proved thorny, such as who else should be at the front of the line.

Colorado firefighters have complained that the state guidelines don’t have them in the same priority group as hospital workers, an egregious oversight.

These are crucial judgment calls. I want a vaccine, but I want to see checkers at the supermarket get it first – meatpackers, K-12 teachers, restaurant works, anyone who works in a hospital and anyone who continues to punch a time clock amid this pandemic.

I want mine. You bet I do. I want you to have yours, too.

Then we can all high-five – OK, elbow bump – some bright morning in 2021.

Unfortunately because of the line some have drawn against vaccines, even when we do it will be too soon to ditch the mask.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young now lives in Colorado.

Comment on this Article

About Author


Comments are closed.