Nancy Townsley

The Top 10 Reasons To Get Vaccinated Against COVID (Annotated, 2021)

(The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates; RCA Records)

Either you’re fully vaccinated by now or you’ve decided against it (or you’re under 12). For the unvaccinated, read Nancy Townsley’s reasons to just go get the vaccine already.

 

1. The Common Good

For pity’s sake, people. We’re in the middle of the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. Getting a vaccination isn’t an assault on your “individual rights” or your precious “freedom”—it’s a privilege! Remember “No man is an island”? John Donne was right. The adage applies. We’re all part of a vast global tapestry of interconnectedness, and it’s beautiful. Or, more honestly, it could be, if you’d take the damn shot before 10,000 more folks buy the farm. Frankly, your pig-headedness is infringing on my right and their right to stay healthy, sane, and alive. And yeah, I’m pretty pissed off about that.

 

2. 645,000 U.S. Deaths (So Far)

I mean, really, 0.2% of the nation’s entire population isn’t enough for you? What is? A full 1%? 5%? 20,000,000 of us? Tell you what, let’s rename your garage band from The Maskless Wonders to The Six Feet Unders. How do you like them apples? Harsh, I know, but maybe it’ll make a dent.

 

3. Even Your Dog Is Fully Vaccinated

Remember when Fido was an irresistibly cute little ball of fluff, prancing around in the grass, eager to socialize with all the older, vaccinated canines? Your vet said, wisely, “Not ’til he’s four months old! Not ’til he’s had all his shots!” And you complied, didn’t you? Stayed away from the dog park, didn’t let Fido play with others. Far be it from you to expose your best friend to parvo or some other terrible illness that could have him writhing and retching and (perish the thought!) possibly prematurely crossing over the Rainbow Bridge, when you, the compassionate human responsible for his very destiny, could have easily prevented it. Now, substitute “school children” for your pooch. Ring any bells? Sorry, not sorry for the in-your-face visual. I’m not usually so blunt, but … desperate times.

 

4. Don’t Be Selfish

Honestly, it’s not a good look. You pay your taxes (well, most of you do), you tithe, you give blood, you pick the kids up from dance lessons on time. What’s with this sudden attitudinal homage to the Me Decade? No one liked the person they were back in the ’70s, except maybe Hall & Oates, who at least got a little reflective in “She’s Gone” from Abandoned Luncheonette. Thoughtfulness is the new self-absorbed. Catch up. What would Daryl and John do? They’d get the damn shot.

 

5. You Took the Polio, DPT, and MMR Vaccines

Oh, so your parents made that choice for you at the pediatrician’s office back in the day. I get it. You didn’t have a say in those decisions, wah, wah. But, so what? I cry foul on that line of thinking. I see you over there, sucking down diet cola and stuffing your face with doughnuts as if you could identify even half of the odious ingredients they put in those things. Call me cynical, but arguing that you need to know everything about anything you put in your now-adult body holds water about as well as those pre-Katrina levees in Louisiana. Take that apple cider cruller out of your pie hole and talk to me, you holdout. Let’s go.

 

6. You Could Die (You Actually Could)

In all seriousness, I know a few people who wound up on ventilators after they caught COVID. Two of them didn’t make it. This was before last spring, before vaccines became widely available and easily accessible. Now, you have no excuse. None. Unless you have a medical condition that makes vaccination dangerous to you? Then, I’d understand. But, otherwise, no. If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to die if you get the virus, because your case will be milder. Period, end of sentence. Okay, one more sentence: “Breakthrough” does not mean the vaccines don’t work—it means YOU didn’t do your duty in the beginning, so now some of MY vaccinated brethren are getting it. (Only, NEWS FLASH, those people are still alive.) No, one more sentence: Believe in science, not conspiracies. No, I lied, one more: You may be young and strong, but COVID is younger and stronger.

 

7. Read Wendy Molyneux’s September 2, 2021, Piece in McSweeney’s

Fuck! (You just have to read it … it’s brilliant.)

 

8. Wasn’t 2020 Enough of a Garbage Year for You?

We could have nipped this whole thing in the bud last spring, but, because of you, here we are, dragging things on nearly into Fall 2021, and perhaps forever if you 30 Percenters have your way. You’re making this so much more difficult than it needs to be. And I’m having a hard time tolerating you right now as I stand in line at the post office, sweating beneath my N95, longing for those five days back in June when I felt sort of, kind of comfortable not wearing a mask. Also, our hospitals are packed with COVID-surge patients. My husband will have to delay his hip replacement surgery because of it. But hey—don’t feel bad when you see him, hobbling along on his cane. You’ve still got your “freedom.”

 

9. Be Part of the Solution, Not Part of the Problem

Someone recently opined that most of the folks who rushed to get the first vaccination appointment available to them (me!) only did it because they were eager to get together with their elderly parents or their born-during-the-pandemic grandchildren or to travel somewhere more interesting than the half-mile walk around their neighborhood they’d been taking for an entire freaking year. Fie on that! I’m not trying to be a hero here, but the main reason I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. to score an Internet appointment at the Walmart Pharmacy last March was that I care about others, not just myself. I wanted to be safe (duh!) and, yeah, I wanted to meet my grandson, but I wanted other people to be safe, too. Does that make sense to you? Can you even relate to that? No?! Well, get with it.

 

10. Reread Reason #1

The greater good, a.k.a. The Commons. It’s where empathy meets loving-kindness, where need supersedes greed, Baltic Avenue’s answer to Boardwalk in Monopoly. Look it up. Be transformed. Then, please, I beg of you, go forth, right now, and get vaccinated, before it’s too late.

 

Nancy Townsley

Nancy Townsley is a longtime community newspaper journalist living in a floating home on the Multnomah Channel near Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Brain, Child Magazine, NAILED Magazine, The Riveter Magazine, Elephant Journal, The Manifest-Station, and Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life (2012, Forest Avenue Press). She is working on a novel about a journalist-turned-activist in a time of devalued news.

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