Vaccine Hostility

When it comes to the COVID 19 vaccine, it seems like it has just been a hop, skip and a jump from vaccine hesitancy to resistance to hostility for some people.

Vaccine hesitancy has been around for a long time.  People who are vaccine hesitant are just that.  They delay or refuse vaccines.  This was exacerbated by Andrew Wakefield linking some vaccines to autism in the late 90’s. That link has been scientifically refuted many times over the years and he has been discredited, but the damage was done. Public health professionals have been working to reduce hesitancy for a long time.  That work involves listening empathetically, providing accurate information from trusted sources, and working to promote vaccinating as the ‘community norm’.  Some hesitant people do end up getting vaccinated (or having their children vaccinated) and others refuse.

Vaccine resistance has come to the forefront with COVID 19.  To me, resistance is somewhat different that hesitancy. I see vaccine resistance as not wanting to learn more and saying, ‘no way am I going to get vaccinated’!

And then we have flat out vaccine hostility.  That is playing out in protests against the vaccine, laws or orders banning vaccine requirements/passports, and (crazy) conspiracy theories such as the vaccine causing infertility and changes to someone’s DNA.  

These are premises I reject!

As a result, we now have a ‘pandemic among the unvaccinated’ with increasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths in many communities with low vaccination rates.  I am also pretty convinced that unvaccinated people are NOT wearing masks.  As a result, we also have vaccinated individuals getting infected thanks to the amount of virus out there. 

The NYT just published an article that describes all of this very well.  One of the things was particularly disturbing was the story of 3 older women (62, 68 and 74), all hospitalized with COVID 19 and seriously ill. Despite their ordeals, none of them changed their minds about being vaccinated (!)

This is going to sound very selfish but unfortunately it’s true: The fact that people won’t get vaccinated means I can’t go home and see my kids for dinner.

Rebecca Martin, M.D., pulmonologist, Baxter Regional Medical Center, Mountain Home, Arkansas

While I am not a pulmonologist, I am starting to feel pretty hostile too!  Because people refuse to get vaccinated, I have to keep that mask handy and need to again worry about getting infected.  As a person without a spleen, I need to avoid that at all costs!



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