[Ed: We at DRGO are physicians first and civil rights activists (a very close) second. Vaccination against disease is one of the great triumphs of public health. We are 100% behind the campaign to immunize against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). That, along with all those recovered from the illness, will lead to population immunity, ending this terrible pandemic and returning our world to us. Dr. Brodale’s We Are at War! is a good companion piece.]
I received the Moderna COVID vaccine this week. I’m happy about it and I’d like to discuss why.
Why am I posting this here on a gun site? Because there are many people in our firearms community who have an admittedly reasonable mistrust of the government and anything that comes from it. Recent events have not helped that mistrust. With so many people of my personal acquaintance who are hesitant, I wanted to speak my piece.
A few days ago when I posted a video of my vaccination to social media I was confronted by someone who wanted to know why, who proceeded into the standard anti-government spiel and then presumed to admonish me that I should “know better”.
I blocked that guy because:
1) I just did not have the mental energy that evening to put together a reasoned rant for one random dude on the internet. And,
2) If you want to spread your pet conspiracies have at it, but do it on your own durn page, not mine.
I am first and foremost a medical professional and a responsible adult. I make decisions that I feel are best for myself, my family, and my patients and I am not answerable to random internet denizens for those decisions.
Now that I have had time to ponder and put together reasonable sentences, I am ready to discuss why I chose to be vaccinated. Bullet format would probably be the most organized way to do this:
- I am a physician. I have a duty to my patients to care for them to the best of my ability. As part of that, I have a duty to do my best to make sure that “I” do not pass communicable diseases “to” those patients. Likewise, if I catch a communicable disease “from” my patients and become myself incapacitated I cannot continue to serve my other patients.
- I have a duty to myself and my family as well. My family did not sign up to be exposed to every disease that my patients may bring to me. I have to do my best to protect my family, as well as make sure that I remain healthy enough to continue to be a breadwinner for the household.
- I follow the existing science as best I can. The science on a completely new virus is unavoidably a changing and evolving thing. Recommendations made in March may not hold true anymore now. Research published in the early days and originally thought promising may have turned out not to be so as follow-up studies brought us more information. But through all that, vaccination remains a gold standard for prevention of viral infections.
- Operation Warp Speed did not allow for slapdash science. What it did was pump money and resources into a system which is usually bogged down by lack of investment, financial risk, and bureaucratic roadblocks.
- I am a pediatrician. I also have a Master of Public Health degree. I vaccinate children every day of my professional career. I am very pro-vaccine. I have gotten a flu vaccine every year for over 30 years. Getting a COVID vaccine was simply part of that logical progression and mindset.
- In fact, I would have even signed up for the early vaccine trials if I had known how to do so and if they would have taken me with a mild autoimmune condition and a latex allergy. As it is, I am following along with post vaccine follow-up so that even more data can be collected about potential side effects for those who may come after me. And I still have a booster dose yet to go. As hesitant as I normally am about giving out my personal cell phone number to a government entity, I did it anyway because I felt that gathering additional data post-vaccine was that important.
- Perception of risk is important to address as well. I have had people ask me about everything from passing out to Bell’s Palsy. While it is true that there have so far been a handful of severe reactions, that handful has been spread out over millions of doses. That’s not a very large risk profile. Reactions such as Bell’s Palsy can even occur after a head cold, and they did not occur in the vaccine trials at a rate which was above what would normally be expected in the population anyway. To illustrate that, someone in the placebo group got it.
You have to look at that against the risks you take every day without even thinking about it. For instance—what is your risk of dying every time you sit behind the wheel? You probably don’t want to know. But even if you did, would you stop driving?
Dozens of my fellow physicians and healthcare personnel whom I know personally have taken both vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna. A handful have had their second doses by this point as well. None of them have reported that they had anything but a sore arm or felt “off” for a few days. Their experience seems to bear out the evidence from the trials.
- Finally, I wanted to demonstrate for those in my circle who are hesitant, that I am unafraid of this vaccine and I don’t believe any of the patently false conspiracy theories which circle around the internet and social media. I wanted to try to be a leader about this.
So here I am. I have made my decision based on facts and the way I have always lived my life. If you choose not to take the vaccine, that is your decision and your right. But I urge that your decision be based on the facts– not on fear, mistrust of the government, suspicion of the CCP, doubts about vaccines in general, or because aliens.
Thanks for listening.
—’Dr. LateBloomer’ is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who also writes at GAT Daily. She enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun. Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites.