To Those Who Refuse to Be Vaccinated, Jump Off a Bridge

Hi, my name is John, and I’m a COVID Longhauler.

I finally have had enough.

I have sat in my workspace and listened to a coworker talk incessantly about why she wouldn’t be vaccinated against COVID despite being in the demographic of people who die most frequently from it. It was always the same twisted rant against the safety of the vaccine and the government’s role in creating it, mixed with a note of her typical belligerence. Not once did she ever mention the possible effect her unvaccinated status could have on another (including the kids in the hospital in which we work), nor did she ever recognize the daily battle of the Longhauler (Hi there!) sitting across the room from her.

Were she the only one, I would have been able to keep my head. Random stupid people pop into our lives on the regular, so it’s no big deal that she was the embodiment of it du jour.

The problem was that I started to hear similar things from more and more people. My son’s baseball coach. A former co-worker. A kinda-sorta member of my family. Facebook (blech) started to be dotted more heavily with these dopes. And when my state government implemented a lottery to reward a few lucky folks (it might as well be you!) who could prove their vaccination status, these people kicked their stupidity into high gear.

This is off-the-charts absurdity.

First of all, let’s deal with the concept of “bribery.” The government routinely incentivizes us to do things that are in the public’s best interest. Speed limits are there not to stop speeders from killing themselves but rather to stop speeders from killing others who don’t. The incentive? You’ll spend less on tickets and court costs if you do what’s good for the general public.

Tax breaks for those with children incentivize people to continue producing future American citizens.

Businesses that would bring jobs into an area get government incentives to build or expand facilities.

That’s not bribery and it’s not “weird.” That’s smart public policy. It’s incentivizing American citizens to do something to help slow the spread of a virus that has infected more than 34 million and killed more than 600,000 of them.

Let’s be really cynical for a second: The government is protecting its tax base so it can keep collecting money from as many people as possible. Less cynically, it’s reducing the burden on what truly is a damaged and flawed healthcare system. And purely, it is compassionate on citizens who otherwise might not die for a long time.

Now let’s transition to the doughnut crap. We get a cookie for donating blood. We get a sticker for voting. We get free samples at Sam’s. There’s nothing nefarious about those things, and there’s nothing weird or wrong about giving something trivial to someone who makes the decision to protect himself, his family and his community to a greater degree than those who don’t. I would imagine we can count on one hand the number of people in the country whose decision to get a shot came down to a doughnut, but hey, if I’m wrong, more doughnuts to ’em.

And work bonuses? Let’s look at this one a little more closely. Do businesses care about the actual people who get the shot? Hopefully. Their employees are human beings, after all. But even if you’re more cynical about the motivations of businesses, it’s still in their best interest to encourage vaccination, and they could and should incentivize it (and, dare I say, even demand it in certain circumstances, like, for example, with hospital workers). Those who are vaccinated are statistically less likely to miss work and statistically less likely to cause their co-workers to miss work. They are also statistically less likely to infect the business’s customers and, thus, less likely to create a nightmare for public relations folks like me. Again, it’s not bribery or weird. It’s smart corporate governance.

So we’re good on that stupid bribery crap, yes?

Now let’s talk about the assertion that refusing to get the vaccine doesn’t make you an anti-vaxxer. Fine. If that makes you feel better, don’t call yourself an anti-vaxxer, though “anti” means “against” and “vaxxer” is slang in this instance for “the COVID vaccination.”

Whatever. Maybe you just don’t want to be lumped in with Jenny McCarthy. I wouldn’t either. So being against the COVID vaccine doesn’t make you against the COVID vaccine. Great.

But it 100% does make you selfish.

This shouldn’t need an explanation, but stupid far-right bullshit does sometime seem to warrant it, so here goes:

Before you go spouting some anti-vax, anti-mask crap that relies on far-right conspiracy theories kicked off by a disgraced ex-president who was a disgrace before he was president and who has proven repeatedly he doesn’t know jack about squat, please reach out to me so I can tell you what living with Longhaul COVID for the past eight months has been like.

We can go out to dinner and you can pick up the tab because my pockets are significantly lighter, as I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours and hours of my life at doctors offices having tests done that lead to zero help. Oh, and I get to pick the restaurant, because my diet is now really restricted to avoid inflammatory foods that make me feel like crap, something that didn’t happen before becoming a Longhauler.

So yes, please do post your bullshit about how getting a shot is so horrible and why you’re taking such a firm stance against it. It makes soooooo much sense, especially in light of the fact that, statistically (factually) speaking, more than 99% of the people who are dying from this thing now are exactly like you!

Oh, but yeah, that’s just the mainstream media or “MSM” (as opposed to what? Fox News? Really? You’re gonna go there?) making up “fake news.” Then I guess I’m, what? Not real? Making up my life story right now?

And here’s the thing… if your stupidity and ignorance and incredible ability to be snagged by a wormless hook didn’t also ensnare innocent people who did the smart thing or who can’t get the shot for health reasons and showed an ounce of concern for this thing we try to call society, I wouldn’t give two farts on Friday because it’s your kind who’s dying out these days and maybe we will all one day just call that an incredibly fortunate instance of “thinning the herd.”

But it’s not. Your stupidity and ignorance back when masks were the hot topic led to the symptoms we Longhaulers have to deal with daily. Now you’re showing it with the thing that has been credited by sane members on both sides of the aisle as leading to the slow-down of COVID’s rampage across the country and the globe, and your dumb stance is what is going to infect and kill thousands and thousands more.

If you want to die, fine. Go jump off a freaking bridge, will you? Just don’t take any innocent people who want to do and did the right thing with you.

There. You spouted your crap. Now I’ve spouted mine.

Thing is, I mean it when I say you might want to talk to me about what life as a Longhauler is like. But if you don’t want to talk to me, hey, I’m in touch with so many more who would be happy to share their stories.

And if you’re too much of a coward to talk to another human being about real life, click here. You can read for yourself in the complete safety you find behind your keyboard.


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One response to “To Those Who Refuse to Be Vaccinated, Jump Off a Bridge”

  1. Sorry, John. This article is too harsh. I’m a long hauler with 8 months of horrific symptoms and have contemplated suicide but couldn’t go through with it because as a Mom of a 9 year old and 6 year old, I couldn’t leave them behind…they need me. So I push through the joint pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, depression and migraines. But I will never get the shot. Why? Fear.

    You know nobody “believes” us long haulers, they gaslight us and act like we are crazy for feeling the way we do. Well, there are people that have received the vaccine and have issues as well. Are they not to be believed? People have got the shot and passed away. I would rather battle the enemy I know than the enemy I don’t. I feel like getting the shot is like playing Russian roulette. You don’t know how your body is going to respond and you cannot remove the vaccine from your body to save your life. If you have a bad adverse reaction, you’re history.

    I don’t want Covid again, but as a long hauler, have I ever REALLY gotten “rid” of covid? No. I’m scared to get the shot. I’ve read that there is not enough evidence and long-term data on how long natural Covid antibodies last to protect you. Long haulers still have the virus inside them, still causing symptoms and wrecking havoc…is that not offering antibody protection? Nobody knows. I would never judge someone for making the health decision that’s best for them. If you want to blame people blame the CCP for creating this monster

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