Dear friends, please get vaccinated

Hey there unvaccinated friends! I’m really trying to write this from my most generous place of empathy and kindness. Let’s start off with the basic assumption that we share a mutual desire for the pandemic to end. We both want to be done with lockdowns, which have been economically and psychologically devastating for lots of people. We also want to be done with masks, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough people vaccinated yet for the pandemic to end — and when hospital capacities become full, lockdowns become necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

With the hyper-transmissible delta variant, which may be able to spread in as quickly as 1 second of indoor close contact, we are heading straight toward another lockdown unless we a) resume widespread mask wearing and b) get more people vaccinated.

I know several friends who have told me they haven’t yet been vaccinated due to their concerns around auto-immune reactions. I’m sure many others don’t want to be vaccinated because they don’t want to be told what to do, or because they don’t trust the pharmaceutical industry and/or the government.

If you’re concerned about getting vaccinated for health reasons, please have a consultation appointment with a physician to discuss your concerns. Please seek the opinion of an actual medical professional and don’t base your medical decisions based on things you’ve read on Facebook. I can empathize with your concerns — I have an autoimmune disorder as well as a potentially life-threatening shellfish allergy. My body identifies many things as an allergic threat.

Still, I got the COVID vaccine as soon as I could. I wasn’t worried about an allergic reaction, because they monitor you after the vaccine for an allergic reaction — and I knew that in the extremely unlikely event I had an anaphylactic reaction their staff would be prepared and I would be fine. I did not have an allergic reaction, or much of a reaction at all to either of my two vaccine doses.

I really wanted to get vaccinated because I knew that it would help protect my family as well as bring us one step closer to ending the pandemic. For my sake and for the sake of all the other kids and parents out there, I want with every fiber of my being for the schools to stay open. I cannot even begin to tell you how devastating the effects of another round of school closures would be to my family personally and to countless other families out there. Children under age 12 are still unable to be vaccinated — and although kids in general haven’t gotten as sick from previous variants of COVID, we’re not sure yet how the delta variant will affect kids. Schools may not be able to stay open if community transmission is too high. And children may get sick and die from COVID because we as a community have not done a good enough job of protecting them.

Please consider getting vaccinated as way to protect yourself and the children in your community. If not — I respect your right to your own medical decisions. But please respect my right to keep my children safe, and understand that we may not be getting together until after my children have had the opportunity be vaccinated. We’re all in this together, and I wish you the best.

Love,

Ursula

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