GENCO: It's selfish to forgo vaccination

Joe Genco

This whole Covid thing scares me.

Way too often I keep hearing about positive people.

Not the smile-on-the face, happy-go-lucky kind but different one as in “I tested positive,” “I got it and I am hanging low” or, worst of all, the "I don't need to get tested it's just a bad cold." I am related to all three by marriage or blood.

The thing is, in my life, at least, it seems to be “no worse than a bad cold” for most people. That’s because my friends, family and most acquaintances are educated and believe in science.

Nonsensical harangues persist, however. For example, the woman who explained to me her information was better than mine because she had an iPhone 11S and I only had a Droid Galaxy 10. She also tried to convince me transgender post-op men are having babies. That goes without even getting into Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine or the benefits of high doses of vitamin C because my chiropractor said so. Spare me.

Before he was vaccinated, Pastor Mike spent 24 days at Millard Suburban in late 2020. He learned important lessons like “if you are nice to the nurses, they have a secret supply if lemon ice and they will share late at night” and “sometimes life has tough choices: ‘What do you do when your oxygen hose is 6-feet long, the bathroom is 12-feet away and you really need to pee?’ ” He's OK now.

For Farmer Wally it was six weeks in the ICU. He may never be right, the proud patriarch of the three-generation farm family is a shell of himself. Then there are unintended consequences. The people who need treatment and can’t get it because the unvaccinated clog hospitals.

My friend Bob was hours from leaving home for desperately needed back surgery when he got the message his surgery was postponed indefinitely. His condition keeps worsening. He’s been through all the approvals and all the prescreening and imaging for his desperately needed surgery twice now.

Oh well. Live in pain and go through it a third time or up the opiate dose. Que sera sera.

The hospital is full of ignorant people suffering the consequences of poor life choices by not getting vaccinated. Bob is informed and cognizant but that doesn’t save him from being a victim of the 'Covidiots.'

There’s another cadre of the forgotten out there as well. My friend Al is wheelchair-bound thanks to multiple sclerosis. This whole isolation thing is nothing new to him. “Welcome to my life” he says. “I’ve been in isolation for years.”

The thing is, he is cheerful and grateful with a wonderful sense of humor and a deep and abiding faith. He will tell anyone who listens to read the Bible. “Start with Luke.”

Ditto the isolation tale of my wife’s friend Zahra who lives in California. She received a lung transplant 14 ½ years ago thanks to pulmonary fibrosis. She lives life one bad cold from death without even considering Covid. Her life has been defined by doctor’s appointments, self isolation and calculated risks. The world is unforgiving but she did go to a San Francisco Giants game when we visited several years ago, a memory I will cherish.

“I am OK these days but terrified about the ‘it's raining omicron’ declaration by a local health officer," she explained. "Even a well-protected (by generally high vaccination and mask compliance and education level) community is not immune and we are seeing it in the hospitals.”

Al, Zahra and Bob are all suffering but their fate is better than that of the politically conservative plumber who did work on our house a few months ago. He was 32, with a fiance and children, proud, healthy, unvaccinated. It’s hard to enjoy freedoms when your heart no longer beats.

The thing is, you have a choice. Get vaccinated and live or be stupid and don’t. Some vaccinated people will die but not as many.

And please, spare me your rhetoric. “I am going to take my chances on covid rather than take my chances on experimental medicine.” It is hollow, empty and ignorant.

As the omicron variant rages this thing is nowhere near over.

One more thing: It is likely time to upgrade your mask collection. That flimsy cloth face covering you’ve been wearing might help you fit in with the cool kids but it’s not doing much to protect you. A study released by the Mayo Clinic last week, and published in the Wall Street Journal, recommends KN95 masks.

The Niagara County Health Department says double up with cloth and paper.

Either way, take things seriously. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Don’t be selfish.

Contact regional news editor Joe Genco at 716-282-2311, ext. 2250, or joe.genco@niagara-gazette.com.

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