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I’m tired of listening to antivaxxers and their excuses

by Peter Weinberger | pweinberger@claremont-courier.com

I know, so much has been said about why we should or should not get a vaccine and wear a mask. In most cases the arguments have not changed, comparing personal freedom versus protecting the public.  But as the Delta variant continues to rage (we are lucky mandates have kept L.A. County numbers lower), it’s obvious we are in the middle of a pandemic for the unvaccinated.

What does that mean? It means the virus would be under control or literally gone, if more people got vaccinated. There is an enormous amount of proof, backed by facts, supporting this statement. Yet we still hear excuses about why some still won’t get the shots.

Criticizing personal freedom is a big step for me—especially since I rarely get a flu shot. My reasons were typical, mostly because I didn’t want a shot that would give me the flu. It just seemed like when I did get a shot, I’d experience some sort of adverse effects. So why should I get it? Sound familiar?

I’m also against general mask mandates. They should have a specific focus, such as when in a hospital, school, business (owner prerogative), sports event or entertainment venue. But during a custody hearing, a judge refused to let a child stay with his mom because she refused to get vaccinated. To me, that’s just taking it too far.

All that being said, it’s time that more of us start thinking about our fellow humans and how vaccinations and masks impact everyone’s quality of life. Why should people who follow the rules be punished by the people who won’t? I didn’t like getting a vaccination. And I don’t like wearing a mask, but because of the unvaccinated, I still am.

Saying COVID-19 is just like the regular flu is simply misinformation, usually promoted by people politicalizing the issue. The COVID death rate may seem low, around .5 percent, but that also works out to about 650,000 deaths nationally. And the toll on your body can be severe (even with a mild case) with the potential for side effects permanently impacting taste or lung function. This pandemic has been anything but a normal flu season.

Yet here we are, still wearing masks, still arguing why so many still refuse to get a vaccine. And yes, Claremont is doing better than the national average, but not nearly as good as it should be, given a 90-plus percent vaccination rate among local seniors. Believe it or not, only 65 percent of Claremont adults have been vaccinated. That’s still below the average among local teens, age 12 and up, with a 75 percent rate. Maybe the adults in the room are Claremont’s teenagers.

There are some decisions others make that I just do not understand. Why would you send a student to school without a mask? The younger kids are literally sitting ducks and are more likely to spread the virus. The same is true for people in the medical profession and in education. If I go to the hospital, having an unvaccinated nurse or doctor would be a nightmare. Yet some would only get a vaccination because of a mandate or job requirement.

Teachers at all levels face the same challenge. But it defies logic to interact with students most of the day, in an enclosed space like a classroom, without a vaccination and mask. All this because you don’t like someone saying you need one? On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times published a story about how angry health professionals are to be treating patients who are seriously ill because they’re not vaccinated. And teachers shouldn’t be expected to instruct students not wearing masks. The good news is the vast majority of professionals will continue to do their jobs, even in the face of others not giving a damn.

I’m sorry to be so blunt. But take one look at the Southeastern U.S. which has some of the highest new case rates in the world. Yet some politicians thwart efforts for mask mandates in schools.

How many times do we hear about a seriously ill antivaxxer in the hospital begging friends, family, and anyone who will listen, to get a vaccination? It’s so sad to see, because it’s so easy to fix.

After 18 months of living in fear from a pandemic, there is a clear path how we can finally move on from COVID. The virus can be controlled if all of us take steps to protect ourselves and our families. It’s that simple.

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