It looked like a scene from a dystopian SF novel. A long queue of slightly uneasy looking men and women, two metres apart, in a long cattle shed. It was eerily silent… No, it wasn’t, a elderly woman and her daughter behind me were talking about the Llamas the daughter had photographed recently on her phone, which was fine, in the circumstances.
This was the Newark-on-Trent mass vaccination centre for covid-19 and about twenty minutes earlier I’d received a text message asking if I could go straight away to have my jab a couple of hours earlier than my booked appointment. So had everyone else – as the man on the entrance said “the last time we asked for early attendance nobody turned up, this time everyone has”. But nobody minded queueing, because at least it was a lovely sunny, warm Spring Sunday evening and secondly, we’re British.
Many in the queue were there for a second dose of the Pfizer, only a few of us were having the first and as such we were fast-tracked through to the side administering the AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccinations, I should add, were carried out in one of the showground’s offices, alongside the cattle sheds. The staff were friendly and efficient, many were volunteers, all doing a wonderful job and all should be applauded for being there doing this for our benefit. We were all there, eager and grateful to get the jab, I even got a sticker to say I’d had it. Which brings me to the other subject of this piece.
A friend put on Facebook a few months ago that he was Anti-Vax – he didn’t like how they cleaned the carpet and preferred a Henry vacuum cleaner instead, ba dum tish. It’s a joke, much like the actual anti-vaxxers.
So many debilitating and deadly diseases, affecting anyone in the population like Covid-19, have been eradicated by vaccination, it’s the only way to get rid of them, wishes and positive thoughts have no effect on viruses like SARS-CoV-2, much as we’d like them to.
Anti-vaxxers claim that their protests are about vaccine safety. During the protests, against all scientific evidence (which they also encourage us to ignore), they have made unfounded claims about the vaccine, and they say the vaccine kills people so we shouldn’t use it – have they not noticed that Covid-19 kills people. If I’d been present I’d have liked to have said to them “Ok, I want figures, citations, references and peer-reviewed evidence”.
They claim it’s about civil rights, shouting “we want our freedom back” – but as previously regarding face masks and lockdowns, what civil rights, what freedoms have been taken away exactly? To this end what right have they got to tell us whether we should have a vaccine, what right have they got to try to deny it to those of us who want it, to try to intimidate and scare people at vaccination centres and buses into not having it – if you don’t want it shut up and take your chances. At the end of the day it’s mostly people just protesting against rules: their egos can’t stand being told that they’ve got to do something, or can’t do whatever they want to do. Others, of course, just want to cause trouble for the hell of it, to show how big and clever they think they are.
Some of them though are just selfish and arrogant – someone who does work for us told me that a friend of his was going to have his vaccine “under protest” because “why should I have it just to suit other people.” Then many of them are simply afraid of looking weak, still insisting that they don’t need protection, that they’re too tough to catch it, be affected by it or pass it to their family.
If too many people refuse to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 then it will keep circulating amongst those who aren’t immune and we live like this forever; wearing facemasks and queueing in cow sheds every six months. Thankfully most of us actually want our freedom from Covid-19 so the anti-vaxxers won’t win.