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Stine: Refusal to get vaccinated is about consent for some

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

When it comes to people not wanting to get the vaccine, I get it.

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Personally, I think it would be wise for people over the age of 55 to go out and get it immediately, mostly because all of the data would suggest that age range is the most at risk to suffer severe complications from COVID.

With that being said, I understand why someone wouldn’t want to get the vaccine. I don’t even need to justify it here — I just “get it” in the same way that I “get” why someone likes candy corn, even though it is objectively disgusting.

I think that the archetype of a person unwilling to get vaccinated has become something of a myth in the minds of the public at large. A middle aged figure in a dark room, illuminated only by the harsh glow of a numb news aggregate; eyes scanning frantically over anti-vax memes, dancing from meme to meme — shaking their head at the “vaxheads” out there.

“If only they knew the truth,” the figure whispers to themselves, “they would know that this is the plan of the globalists to chip us and make us infertile and lower the IQ of our children so they can continue to steal elections and prevent us from using internal combustion engines. If only they knew the truth, I could help them understand that the lizardman behind the curtain is counting down to midnight.”

I am positive this is what people think a “modern antivaxxer” looks like, sounds like, and thinks like.

But what if it was just a little different?

What if, according to data from the CDC, that figure was a young, Republican, uninsured person of color? What if this archetype was closer to a 30-something intake nurse in Dallas, Texas, with three kids and a dog who has no interest in getting the vaccine? What if it was a 20-something Black man in Manhattan who doesn’t see the need to get vaccinated?

Sure, throw a couple of card-carrying loonies into the bag, but ultimately this myth of the entrenched conspiracist is false.

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When people discuss vaccine mandates, I am positive they do not take into consideration the idea that a Bellingham nurse would be willing to lose her job over that requirement. It probably does not occur to them that for many of the unvaccinated, it has nothing to do with grand or romantic illusions of a conspiracy from interdimensional vampires, but rather a very basic concept: consent.

We would do well as fellow citizens to understand that consent is one of the most important social transactions, and to deny an individual the ability to enthusiastically consent to medical treatment is as ridiculous as forcing someone to undergo any other medical procedure without their express permission.

So, my recommendation is, for the unvaccinated in your life: Talk to them. Let them know how much you care about them and their health. Let them know that you understand and empathize with their concerns or lack of enthusiasm, and connect. And if they still say, “no thank you,” accept that answer and do with it what you will.

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