Hanging in the balance

Despite the over-100,000 Americans who have died so far from COVID-19, along with over 1.5 million citizens on the planet, and with numbers rising daily as winter begins to set in here, there is a sizable amount of people who will be against joining 2021’s hopeful panacea against the slow, inexorable death march that we’ve been viewing all year.

“Vaccines are one of our greatest health care achievements,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals. “The same energy that was placed into development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine should have been placed in messaging and community engagement.”

But the science-averse, who are actually a potent political force in America and other nations now, as well as many right-wing Christians (read : mostly the evangelical movement) who believe that God is keeping everything in balance with the coronavirus culling taking place daily, are foursquare against being vaccinated next year despite all the worldwide expert opinions. Indeed many of these people are against ANY vaccinations, even all the ones from polio to diphtheria to tetanus which have helped lengthen American life spans from 50 to 80 years in the past century.

Percentages vary, but the recalcitrant minority depending on the survey seems to be hovering around 27%-28%. Their reasons vary from the aforementioned religious precepts and distrust of vaccines in general to a denial of the virus even existing at a dangerous level, thinking that they’re immune to the virus anyway, and citizens who haven’t lost loved ones to the pandemic and therefore feel that their getting immunized is superfluous.

There’ll be a huge can of worms next year as the us-vs.-them brigades come out in full force, one of the rallying cries very understandably being that the unvaccinated will continue to pose a danger to the rational majority of the population who do opt for the hopeful cure, as we still know neither the level of nor the length of the efficacy of the vaccine(s). And that covers all of the candidates from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and all the rest that we’re banking on. Expect a lot of sturm and drang in 2021 as this new political, science and indeed life-affecting football begins getting thrown around by the world’s nations, with a return someday to the “old normal” that we remember before last January/February hanging in the balance.