One morning a little over a month ago, I was catching up on some posts in an online group. While sipping my coffee, I scrolled to the newest message. The commenter said that people who choose not to vaccinate should “thank the rest of us for taking public health seriously." All of us "…should do our part to bring normal back to everyone." Not finished with all that she had to say, the poster shared that she’d gotten the vaccine. Wanting some sort of recognition for that, she continued more curtly, "You're welcome, unvaccinated folks."
This woman stayed on her soapbox a little bit longer and requested that the unvaccinated stop spreading misinformation. I was unsure why she asked that because previous comments left by others included vaccine data directly from government agencies that oversee the vaccine program. Maybe she didn’t like that some of that data was of documented vaccine injuries. Far from done replying to the very polite responses people were leaving her, regardless of where their data was being cited, she had one more thing to say. She insisted that, “The vaccine is helping you. How? Whether it's in your arm or not, the vaccine is the public good working for everyone."
What a message to wake up to!
I wanted to reply, and had I known the people in this group a little bit better, I would have. But I chose not to. I’ve been replying to that kind of irrational, hateful speech for years. This woman, who I’ve yet to meet in person, worked herself up into a tizzy and by the time I caught up, she didn’t need my input. Plus, others had already graciously chimed in. Other parents had responded to the indignant comments and requests before I even had a chance to even open the thread. Who were those other people? Several of them had previously stated that they were pro-vaccine. They were just not pro-vaccine for one of the COVID vaccines, which was the topic of that particular thread.
“I am vaccinated, but I will not get the new one. I won’t allow my children to get it either,” several shared. I appreciated that I wasn’t the only one who had the same thought. I walk into some message boards thinking I’m the lone “anti-vaxxer”. On this particular board, there were quite a few of us. And, dang, did they let this woman have it.
“Thank you? For you getting the shot? I didn’t ask you to do that. You did that on your own.”
“Nothing about this vaccine is normal.”
“If this was really about public health, we wouldn’t be forced into experimental shots.”
“Do my part? I am, by not falling for the hype.”
For not being in the “anti-vaxxer” movement for as long as I have been, the responses I was reading were pretty good. I sat back and read some more.
If you’re vaccinated, why do you care if I’m not? It must be that you don’t believe that your vaccine actually works, right? Why else would you come in here and demand the rest of us roll up our sleeves? You know long-term studies haven’t been done? YOU are the long-term study. So, good luck with your experimental vaccine.
Things got heated later on, and insults were lobbed at those saying no, thanks to the COVID shots. But before that happened, it was like these people were reading my mind! Right off the bat, those who thought to question an experimental vaccine asked the woman why she cared so much about the rest of us getting it. She got one. She thought highly of herself for getting it. She even said that in our arm or not, that vaccine will help the public good. Claiming her vaccine helps the public good is a terrible argument and one that I will never agree with. Either way, she did what she wanted to do. She took a chance and got vaccinated. She was proud of that but also ticked as heck that others in the group would choose differently.
Live your life, lady, and let us make a different decision.
Can we, though? Can we decide for ourselves?
College kids across the nation are feeling pressured to get vaccinated. Employees are also. Will the announcement of door-to-door COVID vaccine campaigns compel people to comply? Those door-to-door tactics aren’t anything new. Some started weeks ago in the US and abroad. With the current administration’s desire to get every adult vaccinated, I’m sure we’ll hear more about vaccine intimidation efforts more than we already have been.
One reason I’ve heard for this latest push is because the federal government spent trillions of dollars during the pandemic. But some of us didn’t ask them to do that. It was overzealous of the government to spend all that money. It was preposterous to also expect that every citizen would trust a fast-tracked, experimental, liability-free vaccine being peddled. Before the roll out, we were told that it would be the best option to combat COVID. Apparently, one of those experimental vaccines is now going to be the only option if the government has its way.
These representatives are saying that the vaccines will help us:
If I could talk to them personally, I would tell them:
I was safe.
I am safe.
I never felt unsafe.
It’s a big waste of taxpayers’ dollars to push this on me and millions like me. Like a strong-headed child who just won’t listen, though, the administration and the HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, haven’t gotten the hint yet. “We’re going to go where you are,” Becerra said rather creepily in an interview. Sounding more like a stalker than a humanitarian, he added, “…and we’ll do everything we can…” to get everyone a vaccine they don’t want.
Fauci’s message from this week is no better. When trying to explain how accessible the vaccine is to everyone, he offered this frustrated response: “It’s easy to get, it’s free, and it’s readily available. So, you know… what is the problem? Get over it. Get over this political statement, just get over it.”
Saying no to the COVID vaccine is not a political statement. It’s not because people are “vaccine hesitant” either. Declining to participate in the government’s vaccine program is based on a choice, a well-thought out one at that. So, get over it? No, thanks, Tony. No, thanks, Xavier and Joe, too. No, thanks to that woman in the online group from last month also. Keep your vaccines. Keep them away from me. Y’all are not the boss of me, and you never will be.
I’ve done my part to keep me and my family safe. I’m still doing my part my way now. I don’t know what life will look like for any of us when this ends, but I’m not going to let the ineptitude of those in office sway my decision. I’m certainly not going to cave to the bullying campaign they’re promoting nor allow my children to be their guinea pigs either. The data being collected from those who have been vaccinated tells me these vaccines are not all they’re cracked up to be anyway. Some are causing serious, irreparable harm. What an awful realization for those people to have to face post-vaccination. I pray that whatever new normal they are dealing with is manageable.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.