Being Free of Judgement in a Judgmental Society
NOTE: I just had to edit this because I wrote it literally the day before the CDC announced it's new policy regards masks and re-entering society. Not being scientist or an MD, I hope it was the right decision.
It's not an easy time to be alive in the world today. If you're in the United States, you have the luxury of deciding whether or not to receive a Covid 19 vaccination. You might not have that choice if you reside somewhere else. I'm in Japan right now and I don't have that choice. Despite the fact that it affects my career and my social life, I'm ok with it. It gives me the luxury of waiting to see more research and see if there are more side effects. Were a vaccine at my doorstep, I might have a different feeling as I miss the world the way it was in 2019 and truth be told, I'm a little jealous of my loved ones in the US who will probably get back to living a "normal" life in over there before we do in Japan. Not to mention that most of the Japanese people I talk to are not comfortable with the Olympics being held here, but that's another story.
I've seen all the social media posts with people judging one another over getting the vaccine because they believe it's a ploy from pharmaceutical companies, or that Bill Gates is trying to microchip us, or that covid is a hoax. And then of course, there's all the people who get the vaccine and judge those who choose not to as lunatic conspiracy theorists, or that they don't care about the health of their neighbors and community, or that they don't believe in science.
For me this begs a few questions; if people are being responsible about masking up, washing their hands, and avoiding big crowds, why not let them wait until they have more confidence in the vaccine? And if people do choose to get the vaccine because they are confident with the science that's been presented, why are the choices about their own bodies a problem for somebody else?
I realize these are very simple questions and that I'm certainly not the first person on social media to pose them. However, I feel called to because I see people on both sides of this argument from those who work in healthcare to those who don't. I see it from the educated to the ignorant, Republican, Democrat, no-party affiliation, people I admire to people whose views tend to run contrary to mine. Black, White, Asian, Latino, whatever nationality, all of these people in every category are still divided over whether or not to receive the vaccine.
Not everyone who receives the vaccine is 100% confident and not everyone who's waiting on it is dismissing science. People are a little mistrustful about the information available to them and after some of the things that have transpired as well as a checkered past that many pharmaceutical companies have, it's not unreasonable to exercise a little caution. I'd like to believe that every level-headed person alive right now would like to see an end to Covid.
My personal hope is that people who choose not to get the vaccine, will continue to mask up and be careful about crowds and hand washing. As seen on the news and all over social media, I realize that won't happen with everyone and with mask mandates being lifted across the US just recently, we all have to trust one another much more than usual. And trust is not a very reassuring concept these days, but we do have the power to be responsible, cautious, empathetic, and compassionate. So the world, God, Gaia, the Universe, whatever you believe in, is continuing to test us.
Is it so much to ask that we live and let live for a moment? Allow people to decide their own comfort level with a new drug? There's been so much division within society's boiling tension, likely amplified from over a year of lockdown, that perhaps it's time for us to recognize our differences and accept them. There will plenty of time to debate these points if mandates are proposed in parliament/congress that require vaccinations to go to public events, to travel, or to generally re-enter society. We're not at that point just yet, so could the people upset about these prospects just take a breath for a moment. This problem hasn't been completely solved yet, perhaps we could at least be prepared to approach each roadblock from a place of mindfulness.
I don't care what newscasters, social media, or late night hosts say, there are reasonable arguments as to why one should or shouldn't take the vaccine right now. Parading a decision and judging others' decisions is not really a productive way to move forward in this new era we've all found ourselves living in. Please everyone, just a little more kindness, empathy, and caution towards our neighbors while we move towards the light at end of the tunnel. Everyone right now needs all the support they can get because this pandemic simply isn't over. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay compassionate.