To Vax or Not to Vax: Where Do You Stand?

Thought for today from the U.S.

The world has been living under the strain of the Covid 19 pandemic for two years. We’re all weary of the discussions and the restrictions. We’ve long ago decided where we stand on the issues of mandates for vaccines and masks, and we can’t understand the opposing group’s point of view.

In some places, the U.S., for instance, the issues have become politicized with Republicans tending to oppose getting and mandating the vaccine and also tending to balk at wearing masks. The Democrats tend to favor vaccine mandates and mask mandates.

Circumstances that include the political landscape, the levels of infections and deaths, local rulings, the information coming from various health professionals, all of these affect our thinking. People who are normally level-headed and reasonable find themselves railing against those who think differently. And those prone to illogical thinking and open to misinformation are growing in number at an alarming rate.

How do particular groups arrive at their conclusions? Do people ever change their minds about their positions? What do they believe that has led them to their opinions? Let’s take a look.

The Pros and Cons of Taking Covid 19 vaccinations and wearing masks

Pros

Those in favor of getting the vaccine and wearing masks generally believe:

  • Vaccines are generally safe and effective in eradicating dangerous diseases.
  • Though some people will experience negative side effects, the vast majority of people getting the shots will be safe.
  • The best way to deal with a pandemic is to build group or herd immunity and stop the spread of the virus.
  • We, as caring individuals, have the responsibility to do our part to fight the dangerous virus. We value the group well-being over personal inconvenience.
  • We believe in science-based decision-making. And we understand that the information we get on virus surges, numbers of infections and deaths, and all things related to the virus is fluid. We learn as we get new information. 
  • We understand that the treatments we receive when sick will be determined by the best science available at the time. We don’t believe that unproven medicines should be used to treat the infections.
  • We believe the information given out by doctors and other health professionals is generally accurate and given in good faith.

Cons

Those opposed to getting the vaccine and wearing masks generally believe:

  • Vaccines are suspect and may cause harm to those who take them. 
  • Wearing masks is unhealthy and may not actually stop the spread of the virus.
  • The virus will run its course no matter what we do, and we should allow that to happen.
  • The government or health professionals may not be giving us accurate information or may be inflating numbers.
  • The pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of the pandemic to make money and don’t have our best interests at heart.
  • The virus itself isn’t that dangerous to healthy individuals.
  • We don’t have a personal responsibility to get the vaccine or wear masks to help the larger population.
  • Individual freedoms are at risk if we follow new laws and mandates.

Motivations

When talking with those on the “other side of the fence” on these issues, how do we begin to find common ground? 

One of the most important issues is trust. Who do people listen to and believe? How do we get our information? Do we believe pop culture individuals who may have an agenda behind their information or misinformation? Do we believe those who are seen as health professionals? It’s a question of discernment.

Those who push a certain agenda often rely on fear to gain a listening audience. What do we fear most? Illness, death, unfair restrictions on our daily lives, discomfort or loss of individual choice? Which fears are our priority?

How Do We Live?

For those of us who have thrown ourselves into the discussions and who have strong opinions, we’ve come to the realization that the battle is not easily won. It’s hard to change another’s mind, even with logical arguments. We find that some people base their opinions on misinformation with no intention of looking at facts. 

At the bottom of this situation we find ourselves needing to decide the kind of person we want to be. We resolve to carry our convictions while respecting the opinions of those who cling to the opposite viewpoint. We choose not to engage in pointless arguments and search for those things we do hold in common with friends and family. We choose to take the high road rather than sink into the muck of angry interchanges.

Some Questions

  1. What has been the single most frustrating part of living through a pandemic?
  2. How do you cope with the disagreements arising from vaccine and mask mandates?
  3. What have you learned about human nature during these times?
  4. What hope do you hold for the future in regards to Covid 19?
  5. What has encouraged or discouraged you during this time?
  6. What comments would you like to make regarding this discussion?

History will have a lot to say about the Covid 19 pandemic and the ways we dealt with it. The sheer enormity of the problem makes it historically important. But each of us has to live with our personal responses and decisions. Hopefully we’ve all learned meaningful lessons and have grown during this very stressful time.

Take some time to ponder the above questions. We’d love to hear your responses.