Stop making science political.

While out with my sister, I came across a Facebook post written by a friend about the COVID-19 vaccine. My Facebook friend posted about hesitantly getting the vaccine. After doing some research, my friend determined that the vaccine was risky like COVID-19 but would still get it for the sake of being a “public orientated person.” My friend relied on research showing how the vaccine can very rarely affect certain people. Hence, my Facebook friend did not support the vaccine but would get it anyway.

After I read that post the first time, I quietly put my phone away to enjoy brunch with my PHYSICIAN sister. Later, I read the post to my sister, who is a doctor, and shared my frustrations with her. My sister instantly validated my frustrations and expressed hers as a doctor reading that post. Initially, I wanted to comment on my friend’s post by saying, “Hey, my mom, a doctor treating COVID-19 patients, can answer any concerns you have about hesitantly getting the vaccine.” But, alas, I did not comment. I promised myself not to engage in meaningless comment wars on Facebook. It wastes my valuable emotional energy on people who will not change. I’m glad my Facebook friend was getting the vaccine but concerned with the lack of understanding of medicine and science.

I am frustrated with my Facebook friend. If you have concerns about the vaccine, then talk to healthcare providers – not Facebook. However, this friend is not the only one who frustrates me.

While on video date with one of my dating app matches, we talked about COVID-19. He told me that he got it but it wasn’t terrible. I asked if he was getting vaccinated to which he answered no. He explained that before he became a fantasy-fiction writer he studied biology, therefore, knows how science works. Since he already had it, he’s fully protected even from the variants of COVID-19. My healthcare professional family would fundamentally disagree with that. I told him that I think everyone needs to get it and how I lost a family member to the virus. He then explained that COVID-19 only kills those who had something already wrong with them. For the record, my family member had nothing medically wrong with her. She passed away because COVID-19 took her life. Naturally, this date frustrated me and I never spoke to this match again.

Professionally, I get frustrated with the courts still locking up my clients and assuming they can open up their courtroom because of the vaccine. My clients don’t have health insurance or resources to get vaccinated, especially when they are in jail. Moreover, courts are still crowded spaces where mask wearers who don’t distance can spread the virus. No matter what I say, the courts don’t listen.

However, I take it very personally when people disregard the safety protocols and fight against the vaccine. Every day, I waited for the call from my sister or dad saying, “Hey, your mom got COVID-19 because she risked her life by saving people from it.” This pandemic has not been easy on me. I lived with my mom during the beginning of the pandemic. And, I hardly saw her or interacted with her. I saw her frustrations, fears, and bravery every morning from my bedroom window as she drove to work. I remember her taking extreme precautions in the home as to not infect her family. I overheard stories about lack of supplies, lack of beds and ventilators, and preventing young/untrained residents from going in to treat COVID-19 patients.

“Why don’t you get it?” I overheard my mom ask angrily, “They’re not trained to handle this. We are. We took an oath, so we have to do our jobs. Don’t hide because you’re scared.”

Then, during this trying time for my mom, I had to move across the country and be away from her. I had to start my career in an unknown place with this thought in the back of my mind: hope mom doesn’t get COVID-19. I couldn’t hug her when she visited. Even when she came, she was constantly working. (This is where I get workaholic tendencies from.) Soon after, our family lost a predominant member of our family to COVID-19. One month later, the vaccine is approved then starts being distributed.

After I saw a picture of my mom getting the first dose of the vaccine, I cried for hours. I have family members in India dying from COVID-19. My best friend is an ER nurse rotating from hospital to hospital doing her part. My sister is going into internal medicine and risking exposure. So, I got the vaccine immediately. Not just for myself, but others around me. I continue to socially distance myself and wear a mask, not for me, but others. I even want to protect those QANON supporters from COVID-19 because of how this pandemic affected me personally. Don’t go out there and invalidate all of the deaths from COVID-19 or lives saved by the vaccine by not talking to healthcare professionals. Don’t pretend as an average citizen you know more than those in the health care profession. Trust them when they say COVID-19 affects people differently and, as of now, the vaccine is the safest precaution. Don’t say no to the vaccine because you don’t want to be sick for a day. (I’d rather be sick for a day than die of COVID-19 or pass it to someone who could die from it.)

So yeah, I get frustrated when people doubt the vaccine or the severity of the pandemic. I get frustrated when people only seek out answers to validate their doubts or beliefs that they don’t need the vaccine. Because, I’ve lost a lot. And, my family has lost more. And, we are losing so much.

If you have any doubts about the vaccine, then talk to your doctor or multiple doctors. Don’t simply read the first study you find on the internet. Make an informed decision by consulting health care workers. Be smart. Be better. Get fucking vaccinated!

Published by Nikita Srivastava

a passionate feminist and social justice warrior who occasionally calls herself a goddess. She received her JD in 2019 and became licensed to practice law in 2020.

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