Friday, April 9, 2021

Insight: Two kinds of people

By Ed Pierce

Managing Editor

Growing up, my father used to tell me that while serving in the Army during World War II he found there were two types of people in the world, those who are rational and think things out and others who are confused and choose to disregard opportunities to learn and improve.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate my father’s sentiments about people and I’ve strived to be a member of the “rational” group. I’m no great philosopher and make mistakes like everybody else, but I do make an effort to try to use what I’ve learned in life to simply continue to live.

This past weekend, I was reminded of the difference between rational and confused. While on a Zoom session with family members living out of state, we discussed getting vaccinated for coronavirus.

My wife Nancy and I have now had both of our shots of the Pfizer vaccine and will soon reach the two-week point for maximum effectiveness. The family members we were visiting with on Zoom reside in the deep southern part of the United States and are considerably younger than us. As a result, I did not think prior to this Zoom session that they would have had an opportunity to receive the vaccine.  

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that their state opened up vaccinations more than a month ago to all age groups and that they were fully immunized. One of these relatives mentioned that his 20-year-old daughter also had been vaccinated and so were his parents, although they were extremely reluctant to do so, but eventually gave in and received the shots.

But there was one holdout. Seems this relative’s sister refused to be immunized against coronavirus, saying we’re all going to die some day and she wasn’t going to let some health official dictate to her whether she should get the vaccine or not.

That statement made me think of my father’s statement about two types of people in the world and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by rational people.

Both my wife and I experienced little to no side effects from the vaccine. While my arm was sore for a little while, it always is whenever I get a flu shot by injection. I wasn’t overly tired or lethargic and both my wife and I each went to work the very next day.

Now we have some measure of protection against the virus and are hopeful that we will have plenty of antibodies to ward it off should we meet someone who does have it.

But what about those people who choose not to be immunized?

The freedom to choose is an underlying foundation of American society and deciding not to receive the vaccine is your right, but in my opinion is a moral failure and evidence of disregard for your fellow man.

Weighing a mistrust of modern science or fearing a negative reaction to the vaccine is understandable, but when put up against the public good and the undeniable personal health benefits in this instance, it pales in comparison.

For vaccination skeptics, I ask you to consider how much has been lost in the last year because of the virus and how we all yearn to return to a more normalized way of life.

It’s really a matter of mathematics when you get right down to it. As the pool of potential virus hosts and transmitters shrinks as more and more of the population is immunized, simple math reveals that the virus will go to where it can survive and thrive among those who have not been vaccinated.

The greatest benefit we will all derive when a majority of Americans are fully vaccinated is the immunity against this awful virus that has claimed so many lives and disrupted our daily lives, our economy and our ability to connect with those we love.

The choice between saving lives and preserving the individual freedom of refusing to be vaccinated is moot.

I truly long to go to a major league baseball game once more, to feel safe dining indoors at a restaurant, to shake hands with someone I’ve just met for the first time and to drive to Connecticut to spend time with family and our grandchild.

I fear that those who reject simplistic public health measures such as wearing a mask or going to receive the vaccine all to make a point about individual liberty will end up on the wrong side of history and continue to prolong this pandemic even further. <

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