August 2021 – Unseriously Sincere Ideas Write-Up #12

Here in Australia, we have gone from being a smug island nation with zero COVID in our communities, to one big unvaccinated petri dish for the Delta variant to fester in. Deltas managed to go on the biggest walkabouts in NSW, so far, and currently south-west Sydney is the main experiment to see what happens when Delta rips through a population with very limited jabs in arms. 

The entire country has its freedom being tampered with by state governments, which is a solid distraction from the fact that the federal government messed up its two jobs: to effectively quarantine infected people and to vaccinate pretty much anybody. 

Australians are now getting pretty pissed because we’re all starting to feel like these lockdowns are designed to remind us we’re just a bunch of convict descendants. And because we’ve all had the luxury and mindfuckery of time to sit on the internet and digest all the scary new reasons not to get the vaccine, there are a bunch of people who don’t want to get it anymore.

There are now endless streams of convincing and not-so-convincing arguments from intelligent and not-so-intelligent people sparking up every which way. It’s frightening the heck out of people like me – who are prone to worry – and I’m just hoping I don’t punch the nurse and run away when my time comes to get vaccinated early September. 

Having a bunch of people refusing to get vaccinated is a pretty boring problem for the rest of Australians to have because our government refuses to lax its ridiculous rules until we have something like 80% of us convict bastards vaccinated. Among these people are people like my Novio who haven’t seen their families in over two years and have little hope for it to happen any time soon if people like me don’t pull our socks up. 

So I’ve gone ahead and written this as a public monologue to convince myself as much as anyone else to just go and get the freakin’ vaccine. 

To all the worry warts

To all the people who don’t want to get the vaccine. I feel you. I don’t want it either. It’s barely as old as my baby nephew and he still poops himself every day. The idea of letting a fresh-off-the-press vaccine into my person “to protect me” feels equivalent to letting my nephew pilot me to safety in a jumbo jet. It simply hasn’t been around long enough to garner our trust in its abilities. Plus no one trusts pharma. Plus the institutions piss us off. Plus no one wants to inject Bill Gates’ microchips into their arms. Honestly, how the heck do we know this vaccine won’t turn around and soil itself in our bloodstream like the infant it is?

Well, we don’t know this. We can’t know this. It’s impossible to know this. And if there’s anything us mere mortals struggle to emotionally withstand more, it’s those niggling feelings of fear and uncertainty. These feelings cause skepticism and skepticism feeds biases. Next thing you know, distrust steps up to the mic and all our decision-making has been handed over to our Little Wimps within. 

A Little Wimp, for the sake of this write-up, is the jittery, emotionally-charged part of our brain that the other parts of our brain have to manage so we don’t end up buying 12 months worth of food and moving in to a bunker with a rifle. 

I’m not criticising anyone for allowing their Little Wimp to take the reins when it comes to getting the vaccine. Heck, if anyone appreciates the productiveness of not being an asshole toward vaccine hesitancy, it’s me. Some of my favourite people are data-driven, science-loving know-it-alls who struggle to play nice with my emotional resistance. 

And trust me, I’m full up with resistance right now.

But, despite the unfuzzy I-don’t-want-no-stinking-vaccine feelings I experience every other minute, I’m getting the goddamn vaccine and I’m here real quick to inspire other vaccine-hesitants to do the same. 

The following conversation is between my own Little Wimp and what I call my Little Know-It-All, the more rational part of my brain. This insight into the workings of my mind will hopefully instill enough comfort and rational thought into at least one person’s emotional confuzzlement, that they suck-it-up-princess and come get jacked up on mRNA vaccine with me. 

Little Wimp: Jeez, I’m pretty concerny-werny about the lack of long term safety data around this vaccine thing. 

Little Know-It-All: Are you, Little Wimp? You think you’re unique in this? Newsflash, sweetheart. You ain’t. No matter who you are or where you are from – regardless of whether or not you have had the shots – you will have questioned and/or continue to be concerned about the lack of long term safety data on this youthful vaccine and imagined it soiling itself in your bloodstream later. 

Little Wimp: You’re being awfully patronising, Little Know-It-All, but I’m scared of you so I’ll take it.

Can I just mention that these very-convincing arguments that we have been digesting about the potential vaccine risks have been put forward by highly-respected brainiacs and it’s not just conspiracy-theorist nuts?

Little Know-It-All: You’re not wrong there, Little Wimp. The anti-COVID-vaxxer arguments are hot, heavy and seemingly legit. But there’s an important keyword you just used there: you said potential.

It appears to me, Little Wimp, that you are getting all swept up in a lot of hypothesis. You’re swooning over theories and ideas that have been founded using limited evidence. Sure, these are good starting points for further investigation, but there is as much evidence that the homemade spike proteins implored by the vaccine will go and bust up the cells in the bloodstream, as there is evidence for a five-year-old who believes Santa exists based on the cookies and milk disappearing overnight.  

Any scientific skepticism, at this point, is just scientists doing what scientists do best – looking for holes in each other’s work. What we should be focusing on here is the fact that there has already been a democratic vote between the world’s best nerds in lab coats and the consensus was that the vaccine is a safe enough option for the entire human population on planet earth to receive two doses of. Even three!

Little Wimp: Alright, feeling a bit better. Now, I know the virus has only been around for two years, but do we know the long term effects of COVID yet?

Little Know-It-All: Well, obviously the COVID virus did not give us a five-year demolition (or conservation) plan for the health and wellbeing of our innards but there is this thing experts are referring to as Long Covid, which sounds pretty rough. Problems with tiredness, memory, joints, taste and smell, lasting for 12 weeks or more. Not a long term effect for everybody but anyone unvaccinated is eligible for it. 

Little Wimp: Ghastly.

Little Know-It-All: Yeah, so we know a little bit about long term effects of the virus but not much more than we do the vaccine. What we can really be sure of is that one of them has given us unquestionable evidence that it fucks up entire families/communities/nations/economies. While the other has had roughly 13K deaths reported from billions of doses being distributed. (I checked here).

Little Wimp: Aren’t people saying that that database’s user interface is so complicated, it’s likely the data is being significantly underreported? Like… tenfold?

Little Know-It-All: Yeah, they are saying that, but do you think we just haven’t noticed an extra 100K people dropping dead all around us? People just aren’t saying anything about it? I don’t know, man. That sounds far-fetched. I think if you are buying into stuff like this you are not doing any favours for the mental health and wellbeing we share. 

Little Wimp: Sorry, I buy into everything. I’m such a little wimp.

Little Know-It-All: That you are, Little Wimp.

Little Wimp: So what else do we know? 

Little Know-It-All: Glad you asked, Little Wimp.

As mentioned, our experience with the big bad COVID so far has actually given us unquestionable evidence that it is highly contagious and deadly enough to dismantle entire families/communities/nations. 

Little Wimp: Yikes.

Little Know-It-All: It’s also not gone unnoticed that the virus is very capable of mutating itself into something incomprehensibly more dangerous to human life than it was. This means it could very well play that same card again.

Little Wimp: Shit dawg, imagine if this thing turned into something that kills 20-30% of the people it infects, instead of the relatively low number it is killing now? Or is that just my imagination running away with me again?

Little Know-It-All: Nope, this time your imagination is warranted because we have solid evidence that the virus has behaved this way before. Thus, the probability of this happening is much, much, much, much higher than the hypothesis you’ve found about what could or could not happen with the vaccine.

Bleep bloop blop beep.

Little Wimp: So the vaccines will protect us, yeah?

Little Know-It-All: Data shows that we will be much more protected from the virus by getting the vaccine than we will be without it. Sure, that pesky bastard of a Delta strain is putting up a fair fight against our young baby of a vaccine, but the vaccine was never designed to stop us from catching the disease, it was designed to minimise disaster. So in that sense, it is absolutely doing its job and protecting us. The data on the lives and health of people which the vaccine has saved is. the. shit.

Little Wimp: I just don’t trust pharma. And I really don’t like the government sometimes.

Little Know-It-All: Dude, no one does. But like I just said, the data on the vaccine – which pharma created and the government is giving us for free – is. the. shit. Same goes for the efficacy data on other vaccines and medicines pharma has created and distributed across the world to save lives. It’s good work. Our fear and uncertainty is simply feeding our negativity biases and we are focusing on all the bad bits about pharma instead of all the wonderful and good.

I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for distrust in pharma, but this is not it.

Little Wimp: This is still really hard for my wild imagination to swallow. I just don’t want to put something so foreign into my body. 

Little Know-It-All: I understand, *muffled cough* you are a tiny pea part of the brain. 

Little Wimp: What?

Little Know-It-All: I said, the human brain is terrible at evaluating risk.

Little Wimp: Oh.

Little Know-It-All: Yup, human brains can’t quite comprehend what extreme highs or extreme lows really mean. Like, do you even know what a 0.00003 per cent risk means? 

Little Wimp: Yeah, it means ‘very low risk’. 

Little Know-It-All: Nope, it’s way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way smaller than that.

Little Wimp: Wow, that’s small.

Little Know-It-All: Um, don’t pretend you get it. But do know that any risk you think you might be taking, you don’t really understand it. Human brains are like, massive drama queens.

Little Wimp: Tell me about it. 

Little Know-It-All: Yeah, you drive the drama queen, Little Wimp.

You make us attach extra importance and credibility to the most awful and negative information we receive. So despite how rare and unusual an Astra Zenecan blood clot might be, for example, we imagine ourselves getting a blood clot and dying a horrible death. We give much greater weight to this risk than the much more likely scenario where we just get a couple doses of the Zen and live happily ever after like most people actually do. Because boooooring. Amiright?

Little Wimp: You’re scaring me.

Little Know-It-All: You scare yourself. You crave drama and fear-mongering. 

And because of this, you are making us toy with the decision not to get the vaccine. You are basing your decision on on fear of hypothesis, instead of looking rationally at the known risks of the current COVID. It’s more probable that this will roll up on our doorstep to fuck us up than it is we become infertile.

Little Wimp: But we are young and fit and healthy. Howz aboutz we just wait and see if other people’s heads fall off from getting the vaccine first?

Little Know-It-All: That would kind of make us a chump.

Little Wimp: What? Why?

Little Know-It-All: You don’t think every person on the planet would have preferred to do that if they could?

Getting the vaccine isn’t just to protect us, Little Wimp, it’s to protect everyone we come in contact with. The main goal for this widely distributed vaccine is to create a level of herd immunity.

Little Wimp: Wow, we’re just a cow in the herd.

Little Know-It-All: Or you could look at it as being part of a global wolf pack. Whatever. But it’s easy for people like us to forget that the choice of whether to get the vaccine or not is a privilege. For some people, it’s a matter of life or death. Some people have their entire communities dropping dead all around them. Some people are working on the front line to save lives and need the safety measurement to preserve their own. Some people need it to see their families. Some people have other ailments and need extra protection. Some people just did it for the greater good, to protect others. 

Little Wimp: Call me selfish, but I still don’t want it.

Little Know-It-All: What, you want to free ride on other people’s desperation and despair? You want to be part of a resistance causing ongoing issues instead of part of the global solution? Pull yourself together, man.

Little Wimp: How would we be part of ongoing issues?

Little Know-It-All: If we do not get the vaccine, we are opting to voluntarily be part of a petri dish among the vaccinated, liable to breeding new variants of the virus and passing them around like hot potatoes. You want to be part of a filthy petri dish handing out hot potatoes, Little Wimp?  

Little Wimp: No.

Little Know-It-All: If we choose to go unvaccinated, we are basically choosing not to wear a life jacket in a sinking ship. And then when the ship sinks, and everyone else is floating around comfortably in buoyant vests, we could be floundering, blowing our little SOS whistle and begging for taxpayers to cover our hospital bills. 

Little Wimp: But we’d stay fit and healthy!

Little Know-It-All: Back to the petri dish, darlin’. Our fit and healthy and obnoxious unvaccinated activities in the community would allow the virus to jump around. It would allow for more strains to be brewed. And we could very well be responsible for other people being put in hospital. 

You do know that we are likely going to have to accept that we just live with COVID in the community now, right? I don’t know what the fuck the state borders are going to do, but NSW is now a COVID state. There’s no going back to zero. And this is why vaccination is the best option.

Little Wimp: I’m still scared.

Little Know-It-All: That’s okay, that’s normal, Little Wimp. Everyone who makes sacrifices for the greater good gets scared. But just remember, we’ve got it easy. Some people have to fight the Taliban for the safety and wellbeing of their community. We just have to get jabbed in the arm with a tiny sharp stick.

Little Wimp: And then go and live with worry with all the risks and unknowns of the future?

Little Know-It-All: Yes, Little Wimp, just like we have been doing every single day of our life so far

That’s all from me today, over and out chicos.

Jess from Comfort is for Wimps

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