Recently, I chose to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine jab. I, like millions of other Americans, suffer from asthma, one of the conditions allowing for early access to the vaccine.
A number of my friends across the country, either due to age or medical condition, also received one of the three vaccines within a few days of each other. A couple of friends only wanted the Johnson & Johnson jab and have had to wait, while a few are refusing to get vaccinated at all.
One, a Black woman, cites the horror of Tuskegee Experiments as influencing her decision. In our discussions, I found her arguments and position understandable. Her own family is divided about the issue, with her parents opting to receive the vaccine as they continue to try to convince their children to do the same.
As of this writing, 109 million Americans have chosen to take the vaccine, which is about 21.4% of the American population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With all differences among us, we are making individual decisions about what to do about the vaccine. For me, it is about wanting to protect myself as much as possible from what is clearly a dangerous virus. For others, our decisions are informed by our faith, by history, and even by our politics.
None of my friends have condemned or hectored others for decisions to get the jab or not, as it is a deeply personal decision. Ultimately, with the number of people opting in, and the expected eventuality of herd immunity, those who do not get vaccinated will be in the minority and will need to continue to think about how to protect themselves as we have all been reminded for over a year.
Some of us have been implementing personal protection methods for years. I have never had the flu vaccine due to an allergy and always make specific choices about how to keep myself personally safe during flu season.
I’ve only had the flu twice in my life as a result of my caution during flu season, but they’re my precautions and my choice. Now, there is an even more ominous march in the trajectory of the national conversation among the “experts,” governments, and in the medical literature regarding COVID-19. Consider this piece of commentary in Medscape from the director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center and School of Medicine musing about what will happen to those who do not take the vaccination:
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to get back to work, get on that boat, or be able to travel on an airplane. They’re just going to lose that privilege. Oddly enough, there may be less fighting about mandates when people realize that getting vaccinated and having proof of vaccination give you more freedom and more liberty to travel, to go to your workplace, eventually to go to the gym, eventually to go back to schools.”
So now living one’s life will be deemed a “privilege” by government unless one participates in a particular medical procedure? This makes less sense considering how many people are receiving the vaccine, the development of herd immunity, and the collapse of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. by 70% in the first six weeks of 2021. What would legitimize such a draconian (and unconstitutional) action? The American people accepting it.
I believe it is a good idea to take the vaccine and hope as many people as possible do so, but I certainly do not begrudge those who are choosing not to. Some may personally come to the decision to get the jab, but attempting to engineer a society that forces people to reveal to strangers their medical, religious and political beliefs in order to participate in society (or be cancelled!) is a grotesque deforming of our constitutional rights, is wholly un-American, and can only be implemented in a totalitarian society. All positions and explanations about refusing the vaccine will be demonized and condemned as dangerous to society.
The march by governments toward dangerously fascist attitudes regarding the pandemic must be resisted and stopped. The issue here is not the pandemic, which people all around the world have worked very hard to stem, but governments using this crisis to extinguish freedom and consolidate their own power over the citizen through the use of fear and intimidation.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.