Friday, 9 April 2021

The Jab and the Refusers

I’ve just had my second vaccination; with no ill effects, other than a sore arm. I was very glad to get it, coming as it did, ten weeks after the first. And in two weeks time I will be as fully protected as I can from Covid-19 and some of its variants. But I won’t be throwing away my facemask and going in search of crowds. The vaccination centre I attended gives several thousand injections a day. And the staff, mainly volunteers, continue to be cheerful in their work. As I stood in the socially-distanced line and noticed the great variety of people who had come to get inoculated, I suddenly thought about the Covid sceptics and the anti-vaxxers.

The majority of these are apparently ordinary people who have become highly disaffected by lockdown and who have developed grudges against agencies that they feel are conspiring to oppress them, such as the WHO or the NHS vaccination programme. These refusers have found meaning and purpose in social media groups that support their views and which organize anti-facemask/lockdown/vaccine protests or even invasions of hospitals to try and get Covid patients removed from ventilators and treated instead with vitamins. Social scientists would recognise these behaviours as symptoms of alienation, exacerbated by the mental health challenges of lockdown.

What I was shocked to find is that these strange views also exist in our little rural community. Walking down our quiet lane has become a popular activity for many local residents during lockdown. And when you meet someone you normally stop and pass the time of day. And before long the conversation will turn to Covid and vaccinations.

It’s not that I trust our Government. Far from it. For they have cynically used the pandemic to draw a cloak over a large number of dirty deeds: from lucrative contracts handed to their cronies, to swingeing cuts in social care, local government, overseas investment, fire safety in tall buildings, civil liberties and health workers’ pay. Because the refusers are looking through a distorted lens, they fail to notice these problems.

But I do trust the science. Have the anti-vaxxers forgotten about the many widespread diseases that worried our parent’s generation: polio, diphtheria, TB and the like, all of which have been brought under control by vaccination programmes? And what about the many people in the world who desperately need a Covid-19 vaccination? I’m not just thinking of the millions of people in Africa and Latin America, where the disease is out of control and healthcare systems are unable to cope, but of a friend of mine who lives in a nearby European country and who suffers from a severe lung disease. If he catches Covid he has been told that he is very likely to die. But he hasn’t been vaccinated yet and will have to cross his fingers and wait for a long time, because that country is vaccinating its people strictly in descending age order and taking no account of anyone with serious medical conditions.


  1. Should the people who refuse vaccination be treated when they catch the disease and expect the overworked NHS to look after them.?

    1. A good question. I doubt whether the NHS would refuse them.