Gary Horton’s latest screed on vaccination (Jan. 5) starts with a falsehood, and proceeds with a tone that would have been better presented if he had done it in all caps.
The falsehood is that the largest group of unvaccinated are Republicans. I have looked for substantiation of the claim, and have found none. The largest group of non-vaccinated are those between 18 and 64, the portion of the population least threatened by COVID-19. We also know that Blacks and Hispanics are vaccinated at lower rates than whites. It is hard to imagine that among these demographic groups the preponderance of the unvaccinated are Republicans.
We older folk (more likely to be Republicans and disproportionately affected by COVID-19) are 82% vaccinated (65-74) and 78% (75-plus). Given that approximately 75% or more of the COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people 65 or older, and the recovery rate of those under 65 is in excess of 99%, perhaps those younger folks who are resisting getting vaccinated have a point, especially given what is occurring with the vaccinated. As we now know, the vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission. At best they reduce serious illness and death. Since it appears that young healthy people who contract COVID-19 very rarely get seriously ill or die, then what exactly is the benefit of these vaccines to them, and so why should they take the risk? And we should acknowledge that there is at least some risk.
Mr. Horton seems to say they need to take the vaccine to protect the rest of us from COVID. This seems something the unvaccinated should consider, but it has issues as well. I am substantially older than 64, and vaccinated and boosted. I did so to protect myself as best I could because of the potential of having a serious and possibly deadly experience should I contract COVID. What we have discovered, however, is that COVID and especially the Omicron variant is very transmissible and the vaccines/boosters do not insulate us from infection. The vaccines also do not prevent the vaccinated from spreading COVID to either the vaccinated or the unvaccinated. Just look at the difficulties the sports leagues are having with COVID infection, with populations that are essentially 100% vaccinated.
If Mr. Horton wants to convince the unvaccinated, he would be better served by addressing the facts and not “yelling” at them and assuming they are rubes who do not know what’s good for them. He might also come to the realization that we are not going to eradicate COVID, just as we have not eradicated the flu. Once he makes that change in his thinking, he might become really radicalized and start to push for more therapeutic treatments to reduce the severity and death rate among those who contract COVID. Wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction, even for the vaccinated?