Dear anti-vaxxers: How about heading back to school for a science lesson?

Dear anti-vaxxers: How about heading back to school for a science lesson?

Praise be to scientists everywhere because I can finally say my entire family is now fully vaccinated. From my almost 90-year-old mother-in law down to my 20-year-old daughter, everyone has gotten their two shots. Four states, one CVS, two Walmarts and a drive-thru vaccination clinic later we are all now chocked full of Moderna.

Bear with me for just a moment while I pat myself on the back for my superior skills at being a vaccination concierge. For a brief moment in time I had found my true calling and it involved having two computer screens open and hitting refresh repeatedly in order to get vaccine appointments.

Back in February when I got my MIL an appointment in Texas, I felt as if I had won some kind of immunization lottery. It was also an incredible high that I got addicted to. From that moment on I became a vaccine stalker. I was booking anyone who was eligible for a vaccine appointment from relatives, neighbors, and even my daughter’s classmates in California.

Now my services are no longer needed because in many parts of the country there are now more vaccines than takers. I find this incredibly discouraging. I’ve also discovered a cache of vaccine deniers, which is now one more thing that the coronavirus has taught me about people that I wish I didn’t know.

Meet Ashley. She was the young, friendly cashier who checked me out at the Walmart where I got my second shot. (I was celebrating my vaccination with a 70 SPF sunscreen purchase.) When she asked me how my day was going I told her great because I was now completely vaccinated. Ashley made a face and then told me that she was never going to get the COVID vaccine because “the virus was made up.”

I’ve now reached the age where I can interrogate people and it comes off as an older woman expressing concern instead of an invasion of privacy, inquired why she thought that. Ashley had a great big conspiracy theory going on that’s still taking up space in my brain. My only response was to urge her to talk to the Walmart pharmacists for some scientific insight.

Next in my journey down COVID vaccine denier lane was a middle-aged man who works in the beauty industry and “doesn’t trust big pharma.” He shared that he’s only gotten one flu shot in his entire life and it “gave him the flu.” This led him to the conclusion that no flu shot = no flu and the same goes for the “COVID jab” which he called “junk science.”

Forget about the Kansas Senate bill that would mandate passing a civics test as a high school graduation requirement. What we really need is a science exam where students have to demonstrate a kernel of knowledge about how vaccines work.

The most discouraging “never ever going to get a COVID vaccine” was from a friend. Oh my, we had delicately side stepped so many storms from very different political beliefs to masks. But when she said that she didn’t believe in the vaccine I was ready to be done. When I asked her about getting vaccinated for the greater good, as in establishing herd immunity, she said that was a myth. I told her to tell that to polio.

I hope what we’re seeing right now is just a blip in the vaccination process and that people who are on the fence or got scared over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause will soon decide to go for it. As for the hard core vaccine deniers, I don’t have much hope that they’ll change their minds anytime soon. Their only immunity at this point seems to be to common sense and science.

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