All right, moral citizens of the modern world, you win. I am no longer so conceited as to consider myself a “free thinker”, for all my contrarian views and nagging doubts about everything that’s been pushed down our sore throats over the past twelve months. Maybe this whole crisis was purpose-made to uncover the real filth in society: us childish, oppositional assholes (actual quote from an acquaintance’s social media post) that need to be taught a lesson and given a good extra-hard jab in the arm. Sorry, I didn’t mean that as a conspiracy theory or anything. Just a figure of speech.
Look, what I mean to say is, I’m one of those assholes. I am hesitant about getting the vaccine, at least for the time being. My reasoning goes along the same lines as ignoring the annual flu jab – I simply don’t think I need it. As for the effect on those around me: despite ongoing uncertainty as to the amount of inoculations required to bring overall deaths back down to pre-pandemic levels, it is clear enough that that number is less than a hundred per cent. Since so many are willing to take it, what difference does it make to you if I choose to wait a little? You never gave me such a hard time for not taking the flu shot every year. This may sound crazy, but I don’t think it takes a medical degree to look after yourself: what feels necessary, and what doesn’t. Every body is different.
You can shout me down for my lack of medical knowledge, or presumed selfishness, all you want, but your undying persistence is only going to make me and my type more reticent. Don’t you understand? The venom with which some virtuous folks describe us almost betrays a desire to remove us from society altogether.
If you are willing to advertise your hatred for anybody who expresses even the slightest doubt regarding the heavy-handed propaganda we’ve all been fed since last March, then stop pretending like you respect our right to freedom of choice. Just outright admit you’d love for us to be tied down and jabbed, preferably with a larger needle than necessary, and maybe watchable in bite-size video format for the full Schadenfreude experience. After all, we could all use some light entertainment. Some may even secretly desire harsher punishments, particularly for those covidiots like myself who deplore enforced masking and social distancing too (in the long term especially!).
The fact that I didn’t think this virus was frightening enough to warrant mass hysteria, pretty much from the get-go, clearly tars me as a murderer, so why stop short at public humiliation? In my own tiny way, I am a menace to society. Everybody knows that we sceptics will end up meeting in secret, sceptic-friendly places, plotting the indirect murder of tens of hypothetical vulnerables who may not have had the shot for a valid reason. “Which indoor space can we infiltrate most easily” – because we are lazy c**ts, at that – “that is most likely to have a person who is still vulnerable to the virus?” Even though the vaccination programme has covered pretty much the entire at-risk population by now, we’ll find them, and we’ll breathe all over them indiscriminately (pretty much the only thing our oafish type does without active discrimination, it seems).
I have promoted toughness throughout my adult life. I stand up for my principles while keeping an open mind at all times. But you have broken me with your insults. Maybe I’ll have the vaccine, maybe I’ll just look for like-minded weirdos for a while and jeopardise any chance of a career or a place in society. Probably I’ll just have the vaccine, if the job I want requires it. Maybe I’ll run away somewhere I belong… Look – for all my talk of accepting and learning from tough situations – presently, I feel broken and (worse still) confused to the core.
(Do I even want a place in a society that spits in the face of dissent?)
If I do have the vaccine, I will have done it through psychological and regulatory bullying. Not because I think it’s all that important for me to have it once those in need have been protected. No, I would do it only because of the enormous social and regulatory pressure around this whole cursed situation. As someone with almost religious dedication to honesty, who has turned down opportunities and careers out of sheer distaste for hypocrisy, I will temporarily hate myself for taking the vaccine just because you and your experts told me I had to.
Maybe, once the hysteria has died down, once we start talking about something else, and I find sufficiently compelling arguments that make me actually want to participate in this pipe dream to wipe a naturally occurring virus from the face of the earth, maybe then I would say, “all right then, bring it on”. But in the current climate, I will probably end up taking it for fear of losing friends and opportunities to the man-made venom of mass propaganda.
The idea that my fellow humans are walking biohazards… I am genuinely sorry! but I do not buy it one bit.
I do actually understand vaccines are the reason most of us are on this earth today, believe it or not. Vaccines against genuine threats such as smallpox or mumps. Just not against a low-mortality coronavirus. This one feels different. Vaccination programmes have never been preceded by draconian, North Korea style dictatorships that seemed to come out of nowhere and last forever. You could not dream up a more off-putting marketing campaign, to be honest.
There was never a pandemic where infinitely more people were hurt by measures against the illness than by the illness itself. The powers that be have hurt us so much in the name of this virus. Now they dangle freedom before our noses with a carrot in the shape of a syringe, constantly changing their narrative in a textbook display of gaslighting, and ultimately suggesting that if I don’t comply, I will never be free to see my earthly companions’ smiling faces or take them in my arms again.
This all-new bullying campaign also seems to imply that, had there been no vaccine, we would just continue like this forever. Again, insanity. Why do I need to be part of your hysteria? For one, it’s not the plague, it’s not typhoid, it’s hardly even the Spanish flu. I, like anyone else, was very concerned for our elderly and otherwise vulnerable (God how I hate that word now) loved ones, but those most at risk are safe now.
I have yet to hear a single convincing argument that this should be any different to the flu shot. The risk of my infecting anybody vulnerable to the disease in the UK is now so low as to be negligible (remember when we were allowed to assess our own risks in day-to-day life?) and I refuse to live my life worrying about the potential butterfly effect of sharing air particles with other members of my own species. I can only wish everybody else felt the same way, like I know they did before mid-March 2020.
Whatever happened to flattening the curve and preventing hospitals from overcrowding? The messaging didn’t start out as “we need to save literally every single possible life, ever” but it sure has come to that now. My neurotic scepticism has kept track of this subtle but feverish progression. I refuse to accept it now just because they have done such a good job of blurring people’s perception of common sense, like a frog in water brought to a steady boil.
I am fully aware that this will read like a crybaby manifesto to many, but I don’t think I am alone in saying: if I take your shot now it will only be because you have broken my spirit. In the current and upcoming dire economic circumstances, that was pretty much all I had, dammit!