- Terry Wigmore
Covid-19 vaccine resistance: Denial should remain a "river in Egypt"
It was reported in Vox that, one of the best predictors of whether someone is resistant to getting the Covid-19 vaccine is whether they identify as Republican, and we know those partisan bonds are powerful (https://www.vox.com/coronavirus-covid19/22686147/covid-19-vaccine-betadine-hydroxychloroquine-ivermectin-trump-conspiracy)
I would like to add that one's conservative religious belief also seems to be a predictor (https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/coronavirus/article253141598.html)
What is it about faith, one's personal commitment to what one believes to be true about God, Salvation, Jesus, and the Bible, that predisposes many to doubt the science of the vaccine in the battle against a killer virus in the midst of a pandemic? Perhaps the question has the answer: most conservative evangelicals question science, especially when it seems to be in conflict with what many claim to be biblical truth - the earth is young, creation is the mechanism for life, and people are created in the image of God. In these core beliefs, conservative Christians seem solidly behind what they claim to be the "science" of the Bible. But is that a safe place to be during a pandemic?
What do you do when a family member chooses NOT to be vaccinated for no reason other than uncertainty about the science? It seems that the government's path forward - vaccine/mask mandates may be the way for families too. That was the path my own family determined to be the safest way for everyone to try to find a new normal after a year and a half in isolation. The doors of indoor family gatherings are open for those fully vaccinated. Outdoor gatherings where safe social distances can be maintained are also open for family, including those who are still choosing to remain unvaccinated. But do we want try to include those who choose to get their misinformation from Fox, OAN, NewsMax, Facebook, and a host of other conservative/religious media sites who regularly reported the "hoax" of Covid as the infection rates and death toll numbers soared, or extolled the virtues of Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin?
Even family members seem to be victimized by the media they consume. The science, like the virus, knows no partisan or religious divide. The virus will land in a hospitable host, spread and mutate regardless of the individual's "belief" system or political affiliation. The only way to be an "inhospitable" host, is to be vaccinated - even if you've been fortunate enough to have battled the virus in your body and produced enough anti-bodies to survive. The CDC reports that you're still twice as likely to get Covid a second time, unless you've been vaccinated. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2021/08/08/cdc-covid-19-reinfections-for-unvaccinated-over-twice-as-likely-compared-to-vaccinated/?sh=208c15f74ee8)
My extended family, for the most part, has tried to follow the science and the mandates., and to be reasonable and safe Those who remain unvaccinated have been left apart as the families who have chosen vaccines gathered indoors with the weather turning cold. Family vaccine passports seem to be the safest path forward at this point in the pandemic's course, and it is the willingness of those who chose vaccines that is responsible for helping drive down the infection rates.
Denial, of science, of Covid-19, of vaccines, of masks, and of social distancing? This is not a reasonable person's response to a pandemic. As far as I am concerned, denial should remain a "river in Egypt."