How life has changed. Once we fretted about mere things like where the toddler stashed the TV remote or what day the rubbish should go out.
Now we have real things to be worried about, like wrapping a mask around our gills to go out and keeping a distance from the old geezer coughing next to us at the dairy.
If anything, how Covid (Delta) has changed things is to bring to the fore all the existing uncomfortable realities in the world. A big one is the number of people holding a poor grip on reality. I speak of the hard-core anti-vax brigade who seem ever more emboldened to peddle untruths.
I wrote about the need for vaccinations in Otaki Today last month and it apparently prompted some letters of criticism, along the lines that I disrespected people’s rights to choose for themselves. Interestingly too, along with all the false claims, is the notion that refusal to take a vaccine is for health and personal preservation reasons.
Let me say right now, it’s time we stopped giving these people a voice. Why? Because we are living with an unprecedented public health crisis that can kill people. But I will come back to that in a moment.
The “health and personal preservation” claim of hard-core anti-vaxers is not only unsupported by real evidence, but also a typical default of what I will call divisive contrarian trash-talk.
Do we recall the Auckland rugby boss of the 1970s saying that playing (whites only) rugby with apartheid South Africa would “build bridges” and foster good relations? Or in Texas right now where the “right to life” campaign has led to new abortion laws that force a raped woman to carry a child only six weeks past conception? And the gun lobby in the US praying for the victims after yet another mass shooting?
Hard-core anti-vaxers, your game is up. You’d don’t give a bugger about public health or anyone else. I for one have had enough of your nonsense and I encourage every sane and reasonable person to tell you so.
I have no doubt this article will not convince one hard-core anti-vaxer to do the right thing. That’s because, along with their beliefs that vaccines have microchips embedded in them or that horse dewormers are a better remedy than a vaccine, they are convinced the Earth is flat.
Instead, it’s up to the rest of the vaccinated population to take a stand for the good of the community, our kids and the elderly. If that seems a tad unfair, take a look at these excerpts from the Huffington Post of August 30, reporting on the overwhelmed hospital system in the US:
A Florida intensive care unit doctor broke down in tears during a CNN interview on Saturday as he spoke about preventable Covid-19 deaths in unvaccinated patients, including amongst his own friends.
“We’re frustrated because we’re tired of seeing people die and suffer because they did not take a vaccine,” said Dr Ahmed Elhaddad, the ICU medical director at Jupiter Medical Centre. “The only thing that we see that in preventing death is a vaccine.”
And the the Huffington Post again on August 18:
The ongoing phase of the pandemic has frustrated health care workers who have described the outbreak as an affliction of the unvaccinated. Almost all of the nation’s deaths are among those who haven’t yet received a Covid-19 vaccine, and the threat of the Delta strain has upended plans for any semblance of a return to normal.
Health care workers “are tired, and there is a level of frustration when you know the Covid patient you are caring for was not vaccinated and it was largely preventable,” said Jason Chang, the chief operating officer at Hawaii’s The Queen’s Health Systems hospitals.
Right now we have a deadly virus that’s threatening to circulate in our community. If you are not vaccinated (unless for sound medical reasons), you are part of the problem because you are allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spread to someone else.
So it doesn’t just stop with you, otherwise it would only be about you. Furthermore, as is happening in the US, the unvaccinated are tying up hospital resources, meaning more people with other health issues are going without treatment and dying.
The truth is that without vaccinations, we would never have eliminated smallpox or controlled the likes of polio or measles. If Covid is not similarly beaten or controlled, we will know why.
Fraser Carson is a former member of the XŌtaki Ōtaki College Alumni Trust and the founding partner of Wellington-based Flightdec.com. Flightdec’s kaupapa is to challenge the status quo of the internet to give access to more reliable and valuable citizen generated content, and to improve connectivity and collaboration.