If you’re looking for a vaccine, I can offer one piece of practical advice: Go red. If you live in a blue state, look for the red counties. Or get in your car and drive.
Six hours to Amarillo, my friend’s son says. Amarillo was his grandfather’s hometown. Other than that, he has absolutely no connection. But Texas is Texas. Better than letting it go to waste.
There are states where every adult is eligible for a vaccine. In blue states, that tends to lead to software nightmares, shutdowns, political attacks and the rest as people clamor for appointments.
It’s not that the red states are getting more than their fair share, based on population. It’s just that almost half of the Republican men in America – almost twice the number of whites and Blacks – don’t want the vaccine. Neither do half of the Trump supporters.
So if you find yourself a welcoming red state or county, you will not be in competition with people who are sitting at the computer all day checking for appointments. Which, I admit, having been fully vaccinated under the rules, I do for friends.
I know what the talking heads are saying: that Donald Trump’s legacy is a bitter faction within the Republican Party who would rather expose themselves and their families to a deadly virus than be saved by President Joe Biden and the Democratic White House.
Actually, they would be saved by the genius of the scientists and the financial commitment of Donald Trump. The Biden administration is just doing the distribution, which has not been smooth. That’s the irony: Trump believed that vaccines, not masks, would save us, and he might be taking a victory lap right now if the top doc in the White House didn’t acknowledge to CNN that 400,000 people died because of the White House’s failures.
So now do we add to the list?
Do we insist that any Republican man we know show a vaccination card?
If they were just risking their own lives, it would be OK, at least to people who don’t know them. But what about everybody else they see, work with, exercise with, eat with, talk baseball with? They didn’t assume his risk. Many of them have no way to limit interactions, not if they work for him.
Not getting vaccinated is about the most selfish thing a member of your community could do.
We went through this at my kids’ school years ago. There was a popular and very chic pediatrician who believed – in the absence of any scientific evidence – that vaccinations cause autism. The issue was whether the kids could come to school if they had not been vaccinated for this reason. The answer was no. We had children in the school who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons. Exposing them to diseases that a vaccine would prevent was simply not acceptable. Period.
Why is this so hard? If you work with people who can’t be vaccinated, what gives you the right to expose them to a deadly disease because of your refusal to admit that you are wrong?
Having staked out a position based not on scientific evidence but on politics and anger at “the establishment,” proof that the vaccine is safe doesn’t move them. Some 50 million Americans have been vaccinated, and none died because of it, which is certainly not true of COVID.
We are heading for a spike, and the insistence that “I’ll be fine” rings hollow. A double mask doesn’t prevent heart attacks and strokes. The ambulance will be slow; your family can’t come; and the ER will be packed with sick people waiting to be seen, in a hospital with no open beds in the ICU. Are Republican men going to stop having strokes and heart attacks?
It isn’t over yet.
And really, the vaccine doesn’t hurt. Stay safe.