Just tell the truth about why you won’t get a COVID vaccination

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When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, I wish people would say “I don’t want it” and leave it at that.

The two reasons anti-vaxxers give most often for not taking the vaccines are nonsense.

The vaccines, they say, are too new and they don’t know what they’re putting in their body; and they don’t want their employers telling them they have to get a vaccine because it violates their personal freedom.

On Monday, singer Nicki Minaj said she would not attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fund-raising gala because of the organization’s COVID vaccination requirement.

“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t (be) for the Met,” Minaj, who previously announced that she had contracted COVID, tweeted. “It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.”

There’s a problem with such arguments.

Not knowing what you’re putting into your body is an everyday occurrence.

What’s in the medications you take?

More than 35 million Americans, for example, take statins, the drug that helps decrease bad cholesterol. But none of those people have any idea what’s in the statin drugs that include Lipitor. I had no idea either, until I looked on the FDA website:

Statins contain “10, 20, 40 or 80 mg atorvastatin and the following inactive ingredients: calcium carbonate, USP; candelilla wax, FCC; croscarmellose sodium, NF; hydroxypropyl cellulose, NF; lactose monohydrate, NF; magnesium stearate, NF; microcrystalline cellulose, NF; Opadry White YS-1-7040 (hypromellose, polyethylene glycol, talc, titanium dioxide); polysorbate 80, NF; simethicone emulsion.”

I can’t pronounce most of that stuff.

The same thing goes for heart, diabetes or anxiety medications.

Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. Minaj said Monday on Twitter that she would not attend the Met Gala because of a COVID vaccination requirement.  "They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met," she tweeted. "It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one."

Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. Minaj said Monday on Twitter that she would not attend the Met Gala because of a COVID vaccination requirement. “They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. if I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met,” she tweeted. “It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.”

You take them because your doctor says so and you don’t protest that you’re putting something in your body and you don’t know what’s in it. You take the pills because the medical professional says so.

What makes taking a COVID vaccine different?

Let’s take this one step further.

Americans eat frozen and canned foods and have no idea what’s in them. I won’t list all of the ingredients in a popular frozen pizza, but here’s just a taste of what’s in it: cooked seasoned pizza topping made with pork and chicken, BHA, BHT and citric acid added to help protect flavor (pork, mechanically separated chicken).

Mechanically separated chicken? Yuck.

So next time, when claiming that you don’t want to put something in your body you’re unsure about, consult your grocery list.

Employers often dictate conditions

The employment thing is even more puzzling. Let’s forget about the Supreme Court’s 1905 ruling that gave businesses the right to mandate flu shots for employees. Employers have been telling employees what to do for millennia.

Employers tell you when you must come to work and when you can leave.

Violate those rules and you could be suspended, lose pay or get fired. Your boss tells you how long you can take for lunch and how much vacation you can take.

Companies have rules about social media, including your private page, and govern how you can interact with co-workers and community members. That’s in addition to mandating vaccines.

That’s why the most honest statement for anyone still resisting a vaccine is, “I don’t want to” and that’s it.

Ray Marcano, a long-time journalist, is the former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, a two-time Pulitzer juror, and a Fulbright fellow.

Ray Marcano, a long-time journalist, is the former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, a two-time Pulitzer juror, and a Fulbright fellow.

People will say they don’t want a cup of coffee or don’t want to work overtime or don’t want to go to a movie they have no interest in. They don’t qualify why they “don’t want to.” They just don’t.

That’s more honest — if a still puzzling reaction — from those who resist vaccines, even as the delta variant rages and the new mu variant has health officials starting to worry.

In a world in which honesty is at a premium, just say, “I don’t want it.” I won’t understand it, but I can at least respect that you’re being honest.

Ray Marcano is the former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: COVID vaccines: Tell the truth about why you still aren’t vaccinated



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