“To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and [needles] of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of trouble
And by opposing end them.”
Hamlet and the Bard might have been way ahead of the times when it comes to the question of whether to trust in vaccinations, especially COVID vaccinations. It seems that so many Americans would rather "take up arms," or at least raise their voices, and refuse to receive these vaccinations while the rest of the country accepts that it is "nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and [needles]."
Distrust in the government and sciences have caused many to reject the mandate to vaccinate. This distrust is nothing new. While it might be easy to ascribe this attitude to a lack of higher education, this excuse does not entirely justify our ignorance when it comes to vaccines. Indifference and politics are probably just as applicable as many Americans and people around the world really do not care as long as they have not been affected and as long as their voices can be heard, mostly amongst themselves. Many feel that even if they do get sick they have a 98 percent chance of survival and they will develop immunity in this manner.
What makes this attitude interesting and even macabre, though, is that the unvaccinated are the only ones dying now from the virus. The irony, of course, is that their culling of the herd in order to sacrifice the old and infirm will, instead, become culling the herd in respect to themselves. It is primarily the Republicans who are shouting the loudest about individual rights and choices yet it is these same Republicans who now account for maybe 80 percent or so of all virus deaths (MSNBC) with Independents and Greens following close behind. That their wish to cull the herd is coming true might actually sound like vindication for vaccines if it was not in such a suicidal manner. At some point the shouting might actually die down as these individuals die or are closely related to someone who has died, especially if it is a child who has passed away.
To those who have been vaccinated the numbers and images do not lie. Well over 675,000 deaths and 42 million infections are nothing to scoff at, certainly not if a simple vaccine can prevent a continuing calamity not only to our health but also to the economy. To mandate masks and vaccines is of minor concern when compared to the outcome without these mandates. A careful monitoring of businesses and events is much preferred to a shutdown of these same businesses and events. We should already know this from the experience of 2020. The fact that we have not learned from this past pre-vaccine year is unfathomable. Apparently we do have very short memories.
That we are able to create an effective vaccine in so little time and in such huge numbers is a testament to the power and potential of science and technology to ‘do good.’ It took more than five times as long to develop the polio vaccine in the 1950s yet everyone has had a polio vaccine without complaint. That so many of us eschew in the name of individual rights what science can offer us is mind-boggling. Yes, one has the right to take charge of their own life, but they do not have the right to risk other peoples’ lives and feel that they are absolved in doing so. Even worse are politicians who likewise call for an end to mandates and masks yet were first in line when vaccine shots were first offered in the beginning of the year. Politicians are by nature hypocrites but the virus has definitely brought out the worst in them. The Divided States of America knows no boundaries so long as it can remain divided.