Listen to healthcare professionals, not social media. Get the shot: Ted Diadiun

CLEVELAND – If you’re not reading anything else today, this week, or this month, read the following op-ed which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday:

Its title: “As a doctor in a COVID unit, I lack compassion for the unvaccinated. Get the hang of it. The editorial can be found at this link: https://tinyurl.com/2xr2xanp.

Don’t even finish reading this column. Stop now, follow the link and read it instead. It might inspire you to save your life or the life of someone you love.

The powerful article was written by Anita Sircar, an infectious disease physician and clinical health science instructor at UCLA School of Medicine, and should be required reading for every American who is not vaccinated or who knows someone who isn’t – which pretty much describes all of them.

Despite the title, it’s more of a cry of frustration than anger; more a plea for people to open their eyes than a declaration of indifference. Sircar writes from the perspective of someone who has seen too many people die when they didn’t have to, for one reason:

They did not receive the COVID vaccine when they had the chance.

She builds her message around a meeting with a desperately ill patient – husband and father of a young family – in the emergency room of her hospital. The man told him that he and his wife decided not to get the vaccine because they didn’t want to be “the government guinea pig” and at least wanted to wait for the United States Food and Drug Administration to issue the vaccine. final approval for the vaccine.

It was then that Sircar’s compassion turned into barely suppressed anger.

“I can pretty much guarantee that we would never have met if you had been vaccinated, because you would never have been hospitalized,” she told him.

“All of our COVID units are full and every patient in them is not vaccinated. The numbers don’t lie. Vaccines work.

This unfortunate statistic is replicated in hospitals across the country, yet nearly half the population refuses to be vaccinated, for reasons ranging from mistrust of the government to the bizarre to undereducated.

There’s a meme circulating on Facebook that shows two photos – one of the tattooed forearm of a Holocaust survivor, and the other of an arm adorned with a bracelet with evidence that the carrier has been vaccinated.

They were accompanied by this: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Trying to figure out how anyone could compare Nazi death camp tattoos to a bracelet proving you were vaccinated is beyond my ability to comprehend the far reaches of the human psyche. But I can tell you that if I owned a business vaccination would be a condition of employment, and I don’t think that would make me Adolf Hitler.

Conspiracy theories put forward by, among others, Emerald Robinson of the conservative Newsmax website, argue that Bill Gates is plotting to inject microchips into vaccines to track people. This apparently relates to a prediction made by Gates a few months ago that there will eventually be digital certificates showing who has been vaccinated or cured of the virus.

This theory generated some hilarity.

As Bruce Y. Lee wrote in Forbes, using that comment to lump Gates, digital technology, and COVID into a nefarious conspiracy is sort of like “claiming that every time you use the words ‘squirrel’ and ‘nut’ in the same sentence you must refer to the genitals of the squirrel.

And Slate’s political editor Tom Scocca observed, pointing out that your cell phone is already doing a great job of keeping up with you, “Bill Gates doesn’t need to implant a tracker for you because Steve Jobs made you buy one yourself.”

But there is nothing funny about the fact that so many people seem to believe that tracking devices are slipped into their bloodstream for nefarious means by people who are actually trying to save their lives, or the comparison between the Holocaust and the efforts of some to protect themselves. of those who refuse vaccinations.

“Cutting-edge, revolutionary, mind-blowing and life-saving vaccines were available where people shopped,” Sircar wrote in dismay, “and they still didn’t want them.”

I still have a card that says “Polio Pioneer”.

On the front it says that I got it for participating as an elementary school student in the first national testing of a polio trial vaccine developed by Dr Jonas Salk. Thank goodness there was no social media in 1954 to scare my parents into doing the sane thing and getting me involved.

Not that they would have been. We had a neighbor named Jerry who I made and played with these Revell miniature car kits. Then one day he was no longer there. I have heard the dreaded words “polio” and “iron lung”. I never saw Jerry again.

So enlisting as a polio pioneer was an easy call for my parents. They did not offer me as a guinea pig. They saved my life.

Just like the COVID vaccine is an easy call today. It’s an IQ test, folks.

“The burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated,” Sircar wrote. “On those who are eligible to get the vaccine, but choose not to. … Perhaps never in history has someone’s personal choice had an impact on the world at large as it does now. When hundreds and thousands of people continue to die, when the most vulnerable members of society, our children, cannot be immunized, the luxury of choice ceases to exist.

I have the luxury of not having to live with what Dr Sircar sees every day, so I’m not to the point of lacking in compassion for the unvaccinated people who put themselves and others at risk. There are too many people I love and respect who, for reasons close to their hearts, refuse to protect themselves.

I don’t want to deny people insurance coverage because they won’t get it, as some have suggested. I don’t want unvaccinated people turned away from intensive care units.

I just want them to start listening to the overwhelming crescendo of medical professionals, rather than the social media falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

You might be wondering about this patient Sircar mentioned. He died nine days after their conversation.

“If you think the pandemic is almost over and you can get through it without getting the vaccine, you can’t go more wrong,” she wrote. “This virus will find you.”

She’s right.

Get the hang of it.

Ted Diadiun is a member of the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.

To reach Ted Diadiun: tdiadiun@cleveland.com

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