The recent edict from San Francisco City Hall that proof of vaccination will be required for entry to indoor dining, sports and music events, and even religious services in the sanctuary, has brought into sharp focus the fact that a number of us, in our congregation and even in our families, are as yet unvaccinated.
For those of us who sought the “jab” as soon as allowed, that our friends would be hesitant to get a potentially life-saving vaccine is hard to fathom. Especially so during this current surge of the delta variant that is far more likely to be passed from person to person than was the original one. San Francisco has one of the highest rates of vaccinated people in the nation, but even we are experiencing an alarming increase in hospitalizations and death, a fact we learned when a friend spent 24hrs. on a gurney in the hallway of a local E.R. awaiting an open bed.
So why the reluctance? A few people are among the deluded who fear the government has put minuscule chips in the vaccine, these chips designed to do who knows what. This “plot” they believe hatched up by a government that can’t even seem to get its fellow citizens out of Afganistan. These deluded people are hopeless.
Some fear the needle. But the “jab” is nothing compared what may be required should the disease result in hospitalization: insertion of I.V. access, repeated venipunctures for blood testing, urinary catheterization, and even intubation. We’ve seen the pictures. We know it can happen.
Others say they will wait until full FDA approval is announced, the experience of hundreds of millions already, not enough. Sure, the vaccines did appear in record time, but that record time was because the basic research had already been done, research in response to previous viral infections such as AIDS, Ebola virus and previous influenza viruses.
Sadly, others say it is a question of their “freedom” to deny what the government urges. But their expressing their individual freedom impacts my freedom, my health, the health of my and your unvaccinated grandchildren awaiting the results of testing on those under 12 years of age. I bear on my shoulder a scar from small pox vaccination required before entry to First Grade. We all did it. When was the last time you heard of a case of smallpox? There hasn’t been a case for decades. Anywhere! During our lifetimes, we have eradicated a scourge present for centuries. We did this together. For the benefit of all, we bear a scar. A small price for a big benefit.
Together we do pay for each other’s vaccination, and the Biden Administration is, in our names, supplying vaccine to other, poorer nations. This is not totally altruistic as they realize that raging infections overseas promote more, possibly worse variants.
So, to our friends and family members who remain unvaccinated, we say, “Do it!” Do it to protect yourself, to protect your family members, to protect your community. Do it so that we can see you inside restaurants, concert halls, ball parks and at Temple United Methodist Church!