Quit shaming vaccine skepticism

To the Editor:

A portion of your piece, “Rural Residents Fall Short in getting vaccinated against COVID-19” was terrible. But back to that in a second. 

First off, I will say, I couldn’t be more relieved that Hilltown residents have access to vaccines, tests, and so much more, thanks to the efforts of Hilltown Healthcare. Incredible. All of Jill Martin’s points in the article are insightful and well taken. 

The rest of the article, however, reminded me of my own lame attempts, back in school-paper writing days, of trying to tie in a bunch of data and info to prove a point, but in the end, they proved nothing. My paper usually ended up covered in a teacher’s red ink. 

What is the correlation you are trying to prove? Rural Trump voters and urban minorities have more in common than originally thought?

The development and rollout of the vaccines have been nothing short of incredible. Historic, even. Under both administrations. I am all for every effort being made to get the vaccines to as many people as possible. 

From what I read, access does not appear to be a big issue anymore, vaccines are available to everyone, everywhere. Relax. There was no shortage of predictions early on that the vaccination effort would plateau at some point. 

You want to make it racial, social, or political with your statistics, and that’s your prerogative. You can find and contort a statistic to “support” just about anything. 

Maybe there is a correlation between not getting vaccinated and Trump voters or Republicans, or minorities, maybe not. Did you run a regression analysis for people’s favorite color, lucky number, or any of the other hundreds or thousands of possible variables? 

What did you really want to say? What are you and The New York Times trying to imply? Only stupid right-wingers wouldn’t get vaccinated. 

Any study or stat regarding Biden voters or people who didn’t vote at all, who have yet to be vaccinated? What makes them tick? 

Maybe I’m just being overly cynical about your angle, but I just think it is odd that you chose stats based on politics. 

I didn’t see the part where you actually asked people, “Why?” 

It is simply not the case that 100 percent of any ethnic group, economic group, or political group has been vaccinated. Nor will it ever be the case unless there is some federal mandate. 

Until then, how about keeping it real with the understanding that people are faced with a big decision with no guarantees? There are still so many unknowns and questions. 

Perfectly rational people from all backgrounds and political parties will inevitably take the time to gather as much info as they can and make the choice that’s best for them. Are they somehow being selfish and endangering the rest of society while they gather this info? Apparently, no one knows for sure. 

I am not anti-vaccine, and my gut tells me that it’s a good choice. However, if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still the go-to source for info, I can’t find anything on its website that gives me 100-percent certainty. 

Please stop with the left versus right, good versus evil crap. It’s old, unhelpful, and fails to account for people’s valid concerns. Other than pulling a lever in November, I don’t base too many decisions on political party or theory. I have a feeling I’m not alone. At least I hope I’m not.

If you look at the “Frequently Asked Questions” on the CDC website, you can understand how a reasonable person could come away with some concerns. So quit shaming. I check the site frequently, as I am sure many people do. I would rather post the entire Q&A section for context, but I'm sure that would be too long. 

Nothing will make me happier than to finally see unambiguous answers. However, it’s not likely that will happen anytime soon, and that’s OK. We get more answers and better info every day. 

I will go out on a limb and say that nobody wants to contract COVID. Why is it so hard to understand that people may want to take their time with a pretty important decision? 

There is no shortage of rules, regs, and mandates still in place to keep us as safe as we can be while science keeps doing its thing. 

As of right now, the CDC does not know how long the vaccine lasts. It does, however, view the vaccine as a safer choice. Choice is their word, not mine. The CDC says experts are still working to learn more about natural and vaccine-based immunity. The vaccine is still no automatic path to normalcy. 

In certain scenarios, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask. The CDC’s Q&A section uses words and phrases like, “it depends,” “until we know more,” “experts are still learning,” and “we don’t know.” It is an important agency, and I believe it has people’s best interest in mind. But the CDC is not perfect, and for now, people still have the right to decide whether or not the vaccine is best for them. No matter who they voted for.

Chris Curvin


Editor’s note: Last week’s news article was reporting facts on vaccination rates presented by Albany County officials with added information from Jill Martin on an “unbelievable” post-holiday COVID-19 surge that many were not aware of along with efforts on vaccination and her thoughts on why the rural rate is low. While there has been statewide focus for months on vaccine hesitancy among minorities, scant attention has been paid to low rates in rural areas. There was no attempt to “prove” anything.

See this week’s editorial, on page 2, for the newspaper’s opinion on the subject. 

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