CLEVELAND – If you read nothing else today, this week, or this month, check out the following comment, which was published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday:
His headline: “As a doctor in a COVID ward, I am running out of compassion for the unvaccinated. Get the shot. ”You can find the comment at this link: https://tinyurl.com/2xr2xanp.
Don’t even finish reading this column. Stop now, follow the link and read it instead. It could make you want to save your life or the life of a loved one.
The powerful piece was written by Anita Sircar, an infectious disease doctor and clinical lecturer in health sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine, and should be required reading for any American who is either unvaccinated or knows someone who is not vaccinated – which describes as good as all of us.
Despite the headline, it’s more of a cry of frustration than anger; more of an appeal to people to open their eyes than a statement of indifference. Sircar writes from the perspective of someone who saw too many people die who didn’t have to, for just one reason:
They didn’t get the anti-COVID vaccine when they got the chance.
Her message is based on an encounter with a terminally ill patient – husband and father of a young family – in the emergency room of their hospital. The man told her that he and his wife had decided not to get the vaccine because they didn’t want to be “the government’s guinea pig” and at least wanted to wait for the US Food and Drug Administration to give final approval for the vaccine gives vaccinations.
Then Sircar’s compassion turned into barely suppressed anger.
“I can pretty much guarantee that if you had been vaccinated we would never have met, because you would never have been hospitalized,” she tells him.
“All of our COVID units are full and every single patient in them is unvaccinated. Numbers don’t lie. The vaccines are working. “
This unfortunate statistic is replicated in hospitals across the country, but still nearly half the population refuses to get the vaccine for reasons ranging from suspicious of the government to the bizarre to the illiterate.
A meme is circulating on Facebook that shows two photos – one of a tattooed forearm of a Holocaust survivor and the other of an arm adorned with a bracelet that contains evidence that the wearer was vaccinated.
She was accompanied by: “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
Trying to figure out how someone could compare Nazi death camp tattoos to a bracelet that proves you have been vaccinated is beyond my ability to understand the breadth of the human psyche. But I can tell you that if I had a business, vaccination would be a condition of employment, and I don’t think that makes me Adolf Hitler.
conspiracy theories Among others, Emerald Robinson of the conservative website Newsmax claims that Bill Gates plans to inject microchips into vaccines in order to track people. This is apparently related to a prediction Gates made a few months ago that at some point there will be digital certificates showing who has been vaccinated or who has recovered from the virus.
There was a certain hilarity about this theory.
As Bruce Y. Lee wrote in Forbes, the use of this comment to merge gates, digital technology, and COVID into a nefarious conspiracy is something like, “To claim that whenever you hear the words’ squirrels’ and ‘nuts ‘Used in the same sentence must “refer to the genitals of squirrels.”
And Slates Political Editor Tom Scocca observed, and points out that your cell phone is already great at tracking you: “Bill Gates doesn’t need to implant a tracker because Steve Jobs got you to buy one yourself.”
But the fact that so many seem to believe that people who are actually trying to save their lives shamefully get tracking devices into their bloodstream is not funny, or the comparison between the Holocaust and the efforts of some to self-isolate protect from those who refuse the vaccinations.
“State-of-the-art, revolutionary, overwhelming, life-saving vaccines were available everywhere people bought food,” wrote Sircar, dismayed, “and they still didn’t want them.”
I still have a card that says “Polio Pioneer”.
It says on the front that I got it because when I was in elementary school I took one of Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio test vaccine. Thank goodness there was no social media in 1954 to prevent my parents from doing the sensible thing and from letting me participate.
Not that it was them. We had a neighbor named Jerry with whom I used to build and play with these Revell model car kits. Then one day he was no longer there. I heard the dreaded words “polio” and “iron lung”. I never saw Jerry again.
So it was an easy decision for my parents to win me over as a polio pioneer. You didn’t offer me as a guinea pig. You saved my life.
Just as the COVID vaccine is a simple phone call today. It’s an IQ test people.
“The burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated,” wrote Sircar. “For those who are eligible to be vaccinated but choose not to. … perhaps never in history has a person’s personal decision affected the world as a whole as it does now. If hundreds and thousands of people continue to die, if the weakest members of society, our children, cannot be vaccinated, the luxury of choice ceases to exist. “
I have the luxury of not having to live with what Dr. Sircar sees every day, so I have no lack of compassion for the unvaccinated who endanger themselves and others. There are too many people whom I love and respect who refuse to protect themselves for reasons that are understandable to them.
I don’t want to deny people coverage for not getting the shot like some have suggested. I don’t want unvaccinated people to be turned away from the intensive care unit.
I just want them to start listening to the overwhelming crescendo of medical professionals, rather than the misunderstandings and conspiracy theories on social media.
You may be wondering about the patient Sircar mentioned. He died nine days after their conversation.
“If you think the pandemic is almost over and you can ride it without vaccination, you couldn’t be more wrong,” she wrote. “This virus will find you.”
She is right.
Get the shot.
Ted Diadiun is a member of the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.
How to contact Ted Diadiun: [email protected]
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