Health And Wellness

Dear Unvaxxed Friends: I Don't Want To Judge You, I Just Don't Want You To Die

Photo: M-Foto / Shutterstock
covid vaccine

Dear friends,

I know lots of my friends have thus far refused to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

I understand why people are hesitant to trust the government — they have betrayed us SO many times, in such devastating ways. And I understand why people mistrust the pharmaceutical industry, especially given what happened with Oxycontin and the fact that there are 400,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States since.

I don't blame anyone for mistrusting the government, politicians, or pharma.

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I believe we should all have the right to make a choice about our own medical care. I think if you don't want to get a vaccine, you shouldn't have to. I really do.

But part of 'free choice' is choosing to get the vaccine. It's just as powerful to say 'yes' to the vaccine as it is to say 'no'.

Getting the vaccine is as much a flex of our rights as not getting it.

That's the part I hope we can all consider.

Some people — even people you love and value — may say you are weak for getting the vaccine. They may call you a 'sheep'.

But making a choice based upon your own wisdom — a choice for your own health and the health of those you interact with — does NOT make you a blind follower.

We are ALL influenced by our political parties and our social groups. Studies have shown that both parties misunderstand Covid and fall prey to disinformation.

These blind assumptions are reinforced by our friends and families, and we have built SO much mistrust between "sides" that we now feel like traitors if we break from our social or political groups — and that's VERY dangerous.

My family spent a lot of time in the pediatric cardiologist office lately (long story, but all the kids are fine; it's a genetic thing but we are fine!) and I want to share what I've learned getting to know the peds cardiology teams at CHLA and St. Johns.

Pediatric cardiologists are seeing a lot of patients who have heart issues because they got Covid. They didn't even have to get super sick from Covid to develop complications like myocarditis and other heart muscle issues. Some resolve; some do not seem to.

I asked our peds cardiologist if he's seen a lot of adolescent boys who had myocarditis due to the Covid vaccine.

He has not. He told me he sees 10 patients per day and there have been zero cases of vaccine-caused myocarditis in his office.

But they HAVE had a number of myocarditis cases likely due to Covid infection.

I asked him if myocarditis IS a risk factor with the Covid vaccine and he said YES, it is.

And that's the part I want my more progressive friends to absorb. I keep hearing people say there are no side effects to these vaccines. There can be! It's just VERY rare.

What I hope my right-leaning friends hear is that the risk of cardio-pulmonary (heart and lungs) side-effects from Covid infection are **MUCH** higher from Covid infection than from the vaccine - even in adolescent boys.

I just want to say this again: The risk of even mild Covid hurting your son's heart is MUCH higher than the vaccine risk.

So, I understand why people are still resisting the vaccine. I think mistrusting the government is actually a pretty smart thing to do!

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But now we know that 98% of the people dying from Covid in the US are unvaccinated — adults of all ages — and so we know the vaccines work very well to prevent disability and death caused by Covid.

Here are some stats from the state of Texas — a very 'red' state, for my friends who trust red states more:

"Unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people."

I love my friends, even my unvaccinated friends. I don't want them to die or to go through what one of my colleagues, who is seriously disabled from Covid at age 30, has gone through.

Our political divisions have made us mistrustful of one another. We mock each other and get in screaming matches. Families are being torn apart because of this vaccine battle.

Nobody's mind is being changed about vaccines when we mock each other. People are dying at a rate of 1300 **per day** in the USA right now - and they're almost all unvaccinated.

I. Do. Not. Want. My. Unvaccinated. Friends. To Die.

I don't want you to lose your spouses to Covid. I don't want your kids to have cardio-pulmonary damage because of Covid.

This vaccine has been around for a while now. Tens of millions of people in the United States have gotten their vaccines and are alive and well.

There are risks, but they are generally extremely mild side-effects, like a sore arm or feverish symptoms for a couple of days. The serious risks are so rare, they're almost impossible to quantify in comparison to the risk of dying of Covid, even for healthy folks.

If you have been suspicious up until now, I understand.

But if you're an independent thinker, now is a good time to re-assess what's best for YOU and your family. There's more info now. Try to get away from the politics and see if the vaccine might be right for you now.

Don't let politics or what your friends say get in the way of using your own judgment.

If you've had Covid, you may still have immunity, but you may not. Covid's been around so long now, patients are now dying after having had Covid twice.

It's a good idea to ask your doctor for blood tests to make sure your immune response is still strong enough to fight the infection, or whether it might be good to get a vaccine.

I'm sick of both sides sharing misinformation about Covid and being cruel to one another.

There are no sheep here. There are disinformation agents lying to people (most have been tracked back to Russia, who would love to see us fail!) and there are people who are trying their best to do what's right for their families.

I don't know any anti-vaxxers who do it for any reason other than thinking they're keeping their families safe. Generally, none of them are stupid - and we need to stop saying that.

So let's all identify our biases and look for trustworthy sources and make our own decisions.

Today is a great day to get vaccinated — but don't take my word for it, look at the studies yourself (just be sure they're from reputable medical journals, not just opinion pieces), ask doctors you trust, and make that decision for yourself.

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Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer, editor, and media critic with a focus on parenting and gender issues. 

This article was originally published at Facebook. Reprinted with permission from the author.