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OPINION: It’s your arm in the end

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The sheer amount of information out there about the Covid-19 vaccine can make one’s head spin and the debate has become rather aggressive of late, writes Lance Fredericks.

File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

HAVE you noticed the heated debate that has been raging on platforms everywhere? “Is the covid-19 vaccine the answer to all our problems, or is it the jab that will be the final nail in the coffin of mankind as a species?”

Now, let me say that I am not writing this to change anyone’s already made-up mind. A long time ago I learned that it’s not desirable to offer facts when someone already knows the “truth”.

I know people who are adamant that they will not allow themselves to be injected with an ‘experimental gene-altering cocktail’, while I also have friends who want to get the jab as soon as they possibly can.

The sheer amount of information out there can make one’s head spin and the debate has become rather aggressive of late. Remember how 5G cellphone towers around the world were being vandalised a few months ago because it caused Covid-19? Well, it seems that anger has shifted to the coronavirus vaccine.

One group will tell you that if you do not get the vaccine, infections will rise, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and our country’s medical systems will collapse leaving untold thousands of people without access to life-saving or even basic medical care. That is a scary scenario.

However, the voices from the other side are screaming … and here I am quoting a text message that I received recently: “Billions of people have already been sentenced to certain, inevitable and painful death. Anyone who receives the injection will die prematurely, and three years is a generous estimate of how long they can survive.” That scenario too, you have to admit, is terrifying.

It seems to be a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.

People have resorted to contacting each other to ask the question: “Are you going to get the jab?” Maybe they are hoping that if someone they trust makes an “informed decision”, perhaps they can follow that lead. Because trying to get accurate, unbiased information these days is just – have you noticed? – impossible!

I spoke to a friend of mine recently. She had contracted the virus and recovered, but she had decided to get the vaccination anyway. “I have to consider my children and my grandchildren,” she told me. “I can’t put them at risk.

Another friend of mine reminds me regularly: “There is no way I am going to allow them to stick that thing in my arm – NO WAY!”

Currently, the vaccine is not mandatory in South Africa. This means that everyone is free to refuse the jab. I am sure that these people will be cognisant of the fact that infections are rising alarmingly so I suppose they will be prepared to do whatever they need to to keep from being infected or from infecting others. I am sure they have considered their choice carefully.

In South Africa we have seen that avoiding social or religious gatherings, mask-wearing, focused hygiene practises and prolonged periods of isolation did flatten the curve on a couple of occasions. So people who refuse the jab are probably prepared to keep on doing these things for a considerable period ahead – however long it takes.

Whether you agree with them or not, you have to admit that it would be selfish of them to refuse a vaccination and then put themselves and their loved-ones in the crosshairs of an opportunistic and infectious bug by going about their normal routines.

And for those who are still undecided, I feel your pain. The debate makes my head spin.

Vaxers say that if you don’t get the jab, you will die. Anti-vaxxers say if you get jabbed you will die. Vaxers have a load of facts and evidence from experts, and anti-vaxxers also have their information and experts. Each camp is adamant THEY are right and the other camp is misleading the world.

All the while fear is growing and I wish I could just stick my head in the sand until all this is over.

So, should you get the jab or should you refrain?

I am not qualified to make that call for you. But if you decide to refrain from receiving the vaccine then at least be disciplined enough to extend your own personal ‘lockdown’ to do all that is in your power to flatten the curve, while those who are prepared to get the jab should bear in mind that even the Centre for Disease Control can not currently say for sure how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated.

However, something we can all do until all this settles down is to eat nutritious food whilst simultaneously cutting down on refined and processed goods, get enough exercise, drink plenty of water, spend some time in the sun daily, be temperate in eating or drinking, breathe deeply, get sufficient rest and lastly, but very importantly, trust that God still cares and has our best interests at heart.

But again, no one can force you to do that either.