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Vaccine Fear

3 min read

I check off a day every morning on my calendar because I am counting down to the day of my second Covid-19 vaccination. I, like a lot of other Americans, especially black Americans, have expressed skepticism over the speed, effectiveness, and side effects of the vaccines. I wrote about a month ago that my intellectualism, common sense, and trust in science would take over and I would eventually take the shots. I took the first shot in March and my second is scheduled for April. Unfortunately, part of the skepticism is more about politics than common sense. President Joe Biden has ramped up both production and distribution of the vaccine. The anti-vaccine crowd and conservative naysayers’ objections are withering under the need for society to resume a sense of normalcy.

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Just yesterday, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene described the request by the business community for a Covid passport [as proof of vaccination] to enter a business as fascism or communism or whatever you call it.  “It’s still fascism. Or communism. Whatever you want to call it, but it’s coming from private companies,” she said. “I have a term for that, I call it ‘corporate communism ’” said Greene. Aside from her display of ignorance to understanding geopolitical theory, Greene also invoked biblical apocalypse.

Although I was raised to believe it is impolite to discuss a woman’s age, Ms. Greene is of an age where vaccinations were routine. Along with that, she or her parents had to present those medical records, or a passport—if you will, to be enrolled in school. I do not believe any reasonable person believes that the public or private school system is either fascist or communist unless you are a Fox News aficionado or Marjorie Taylor Greene. I am saddened by both people of color whose reasons for resistance lay in the history of medical experimentation and conservatives who are cheering failure because… liberals. My dismay is not rooted in legitimate debate but because our collective failure puts me, my children, and my loved ones in jeopardy.

Walter Winchell was one of the most influential radio commentators in the nation. Jonas Salk had been working on a vaccine to stop a new viral scourge that had been plaguing America—Polio. Dr. Salk manufactured the first trial vaccines in his laboratory, subsequently because of the need for help other labs became involved, one of which distributed a tainted product. Winchell took to the airwaves with disinformation,  labeling the vaccine a possible killer. “In a few moments, I will report on a new polio vaccine. It may be a killer!” Winchell teased in 1954. Walter Winchell’s report was later called “irresponsible” but the damage had been done.

Six-year-old Randy Kerr of Virginia took the first polio vaccine and it forever changed how childhood poliomyelitis was treated. Jamaican-American New York nurse, Sandra Lindsay, was the first to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Ms. Lindsay did not do it because she is a Biden supporter. Her political affiliation was never discussed. Nurse Lindsay told the public, “I feel hopeful today, relieved, I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history,” Lindsay said. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe.” Heroes come in all ages and colors.  I look forward to my next shot; one more day checked off the calendar.

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