Recently, I wrote an opinion piece published in the Atlanta Jewish Times identifying the reasons people give for not being vaccinated. I apologize if my “tongue-in-cheek” expression left the wrong impression or confused anyone. My reason for writing the article was that from my limited observation, I’m concerned about what our community is doing to contain the virus. I was at a Jewish day school where none of the faculty and students were wearing a mask, and social distancing was not followed. I attended a crowded indoor bar mitzvah where almost no one wore a mask. I avoided an indoor wedding because the crowd was too big. Three 4th grade students at a local Jewish day school tested positive for COVID-19 and the parents in that grade are not being told about it, so they can quarantine their family. My synagogue does not require you to wear a mask indoors, and vaccination is not required. As a result, even though I am fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors, I will not daven in my synagogue.
The arguments for getting vaccinated are quite simple. Our immune systems are often deficient to novel threats. Vaccines prompt the immune system to respond to these new threats. Vaccines provide an advantage to humans over “destructive forces of nature” by strengthening their otherwise deficient immune system to handle these threats.
A dangerous virus often requires targeted protection, such as vaccines. Fighting COVID-19 with a vaccine is just another set of preventions similar to what humans have done to contain smallpox, polio, measles, chicken pox and hundreds of other diseases that attack the human body. To reject a vaccine that can protect you is irrational.
The New York Times article on Aug. 10 compared the unvaccinated population to the vaccinated population and found that unvaccinated people in Georgia are 161 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID than vaccinated residents, and 87 times more likely to die if unvaccinated when contracting the virus. Similar results exist for other states.
Does getting vaccinated reduce your freedom? Wouldn’t it be better to live by protecting yourself? It is a moral obligation to protect your community. If you think you can handle getting sick from COVID-19, look at the favorable odds you have if you are vaccinated. The risks of protecting yourself are significantly better being vaccinated.
If you have a medical issue, take your concerns to your doctor. For most medical issues you might have, being vaccinated will certainly improve your chance of recovery if you do get virus. Get vaccinated and wear a mask, it’s the responsible thing to do. If not for yourself, then for your community.