I remember the exact moment I realized it was going to be a battle to get some people vaccinated against Covid-19.
While taking my passport photo last year, a CVS employee began ranting about the vaccine, unprompted. She claimed it contained a microchip. She said her mother was a pastor and believed it was “the mark of the beast.” Being raised by a parent very into the rapture, I knew what she meant and managed not to roll my eyes. As much as I wanted to tell her that what her mama said was stupid, I didn’t.
“Good luck with the plague, girl,” I offered.
I stopped talking to strangers after that, but I have at least hoped more people will fall in line with reality.
I’m not an epidemiologist or fortune teller, but it wasn’t that hard to conclude that when it comes to an airborne plague, the world was doomed to this turning into a situation only contained if folks get annual jabs. We seem to have reached that point.
"Barring any new variant curve balls, for a large majority of Americans we are moving to a point where a single, annual Covid shot should provide a high degree of protection against serious illness all year," said White House Covid response coordinator Ashish Jha at a press briefing in early September.
The federal government recently rolled out a new round of boosters for the fall—updated versions of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines targeting both the original coronavirus and the two omicron subvariants that are now causing most infections. Like the flu shot, these vaccines could be tweaked again if new variants become dominant in the future.
Problem with this plan is a lot of people don’t get their flu shots. And a lot of Americans didn’t get their first Covid-19 booster shots. What makes the federal government think the flu shot playbook isn’t doomed to fastly reach its flop era?
I don’t always wear my mask anymore. I am sick of thinking about the plague, too. Yet I find it hard for anyone to forget Covid exists when people are still getting infected and dying.
I’m not 100 percent sure if the illness I had in early 2020 was Covid, but I do remember moments during that period when I felt like I was going to die. I will happily do my part to avoid feeling like that ever again, hence I’ve been boosted twice and already re-upped on my flu shot.
However, I recently read only 4 million Americans have bothered to get the new booster remix—less than 2 percent of eligible Americans (which consists of those age 12 and older). That makes me think we’re gonna end up with another fall of higher infection rates and all of those societal disruptions that come along with it. White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, offered such a warning.
“We are not where we need to be if we are going to quote ‘live with the virus’,” Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said recently. “We still must be aware of how unusual this virus is and continues to be in its ability to evolve into new variants which defy the standard public health mechanisms of addressing an outbreak.”
I’m worried y’all are about to fuck this up for me.
I know a lot of y’all think gleaning medical advice from YouTube makes you an expert on the purported ills of Covid vaccines. And I understand that Kyrie Irving and his intellectual ilk fancy the vaccination dilemma as some kind of human rights issue. The Nets superstar recently tweeted:
“If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired.
This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history”
He sounds like every person I have to ignore while getting a fade or scrolling my social media feeds—folks who should really know better. Many of those who are not as conspiratorial, however, seem complacent.
President Biden may not have sounded as dim-witted as Kyrie, but it was callous to declare the pandemic is “over” in his recent interview with 60 Minutes. As if that old man wasn’t just fighting off back-to-back bouts with Covid. As if hundreds of Americans aren’t still dying everyday.
Sure, I’m outside. I don’t always wear my mask anymore. I am sick of thinking about the plague, too. Yet I find it hard for anyone to forget Covid exists when people are still getting infected and dying. Even if people can escape the worst now, getting Covid sucks and a lot of people continue to discount long Covid.
I don’t like to lecture in this way, but there should be more urgency about vaccinations—even if we want to move on. The only way to really move on hasn’t changed: Everyone has to stop spreading it. And the best way to do so is through vaccination. You can skip the flu shot if you wish, but remember Biden and Irving are rich and connected. They can get Covid and be fine.
You will be left to suffer or potentially be responsible for taking out your grandma.
I hate to end a plea on that dark note, but it’s getting cooler and sicklier out there.
Please don’t mess this up a third year in a row.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé, I Don't Want To Die Poor, and the forthcoming I Finally Bought Some Jordan's.