Why I will no longer enable Anti-Vaxxers

 

Like so many of the 80% of Canadians who have been vaccinated to help prevent needless deaths due to this horrible pandemic nightmare we’re living in, I’m at a loss as to what to do to encourage anti-vaxxers to be part the solution.

I’ve discovered that for far too many anti-vaxxers engaging in meaningful logical debate based on scientific evidence doesn’t seem to matter. Regardless of a person’s level of education or understanding it seems that too often there are no logical arguments to be put forward to convince them to get vaccinated.

I’m hoping that many of those still sitting on the fence will, sooner than later, decide to be vaccinated.

In the meantime, what are we to do?

This week I decided I will no longer enable anti-vaxxers.

What does enabling them even mean?

It means I will no longer knowingly participate in social gatherings with them. I will no longer allow them to pretend that their choice is sound and reasonable when it comes to trying to end this pandemic.

I will no longer let them believe they can go on like everything is OK just because they’re willing to social distance, wash their hands, and wear a mask. Though those steps are important, they’re not enough. People need to get vaccinated.

People are dying.

We’ve now entered the pandemic of the unvaccinated, at least in the developed world where everyone has access to vaccinations. It’s well-documented that COVID deaths and critical hospitalizations for COVID are well over 90% unvaccinated people.

My reason for getting vaccinated was never about me. Way back on Mar 14, 2021 I wrote a blog post, “Why I’m getting vaccinated. It’s not about me.” The essence is that I want to be a contributing member of society that tries to put an end to the needless deaths caused by the pandemic.

I respect each person’s right regarding vaccination. I may not like it, or find it doesn’t line up with my values, but I accept that it’s an individual’s right to refuse to be vaccinated. Along with that decision comes the limits that may be imposed upon their decision, which may include loss of employment or income, not to mention social restrictions.

That being said, there’s a difference between respecting one’s right to choose and enabling that choice and the consequences that go with it.

My son, Scott, despite three vaccinations, like hundreds of thousands of others, is still highly compromised because of the medications he takes due to a kidney transplant. Even though the vaccinated can still transmit COVID they do so at a much lower rate. It’s the unvaccinated that are posing the greatest risk to MY SON, the father of my sweet granddaughter, Olivia (both pictured above).

I don’t want her father to die one day because people kept refusing to get vaccinated. Therefore, I’ve chosen not to participate in social gatherings where people are unvaccinated.

I will not be an enabler.

I believe if we enable the unvaccinated to think all is well and that they can keep meeting with us in social gatherings, we’re essentially saying their choice is OK. That’s it’s OK to put my son and countless others at needless risk.

Some argue that months ago we took lots of risk, prior to us all being vaccinated. Yes, we did. That was before we had the privilege to be vaccinated. Yes, we live in a privileged society. Many in the world don’t live in a country that gives them the opportunity to be vaccinated.

I want to share two events that happen these past two weeks that helped galvanize my decision to not participate in social gatherings with the unvaccinated.

Sarah, who’s name and minor details I changed to protect her family’s privacy, is a close colleague of mine. Three weeks ago, Sarah’s forty-four-year-old brother-in-law died from COVID. Less than a month after getting sick. His wife, Sarah’s sister, urged him to get vaccinated as did the rest of the family for months. He refused. He was a staunch anti-vaxxer. Unfortunately, because of his choice, he left behind two children, eight and eleven years-old. What a tragedy.

I met with Sarah last week. She spoke about the heartache her sister is going through, what they’re all going through. A death that was avoidable had he been vaccinated.

Sarah’s family’s tragic story doesn’t end there. Days before knowing he had COVID, Sarah’s brother-in-law visited his mother-in-law, Sarah’s mother, who was double vaccinated.  The brother-in-law ended up transmitting COVID to her. She died the week after Sarah’s brother-in-law. She was in her late eighties. Some might argue she lived a good life, what’s the big deal. The big deal is she didn’t have to die. Seniors’ lives have equal value.

The second event that helped galvanize my decision to no longer enable anti-vaxxers is when Hamilton’s General Hospital announced on September 14, Scott’s birthday, that all cardiac surgeries for the day were cancelled due to UNVACCINATED COVID patients requiring nursing staff and beds in ICU. This horrible story is being repeated across Canada as I write. It’s completely unnecessary. It was tragic enough when our hospitals and ICUs were filled with COVID patients prior to the total availability of vaccines for all Canadians. Now, it’s beyond tragic. It’s absurd.

Perhaps if more of us stop enabling anti-vaxxers we’ll push well beyond the 80% vaccination rate and bring this pandemic to a close, or at the least, save a lot more lives.

I understand this position might lead to more division during a time when we need to be united. We’re all in this together, right? What’s more important is that a higher vaccination rate will save lives.

I repeat. Higher vaccination rates will save lives.

I don’t want anyone in my family or anyone else’s dying needlessly. So, I’ve made a tough decision. I encourage all who have been vaccinated to make a similar one in the spirit of saving lives.

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