There are at least three positions to have on taking the covid-19 vaccine. One can decide to take it, decide not to take it or not be sure.
Those that have taken the vaccine have listened to the government, the medical community, media sources or family and friends that they trust and concluded that it made sense to get the vaccine. They may have had personal experiences with covid-19 that reinforced their belief that taking the vaccine was the right decision for themselves.
Those that have decided not to take the vaccine have also listened to the government, the medical community, media sources, family and friends and may have also had personal experiences with covid but came the conclusion that for them they should not get vaccinated.
Then there are the people that have listened to the same sources, but are not sure who to trust.
The common denominator here is “trust”. Who do we trust? Do we trust the medical community, the media, our family, and friends our own experience or our own minds? There is plenty of reason to say no to each of these options.
Why should we trust the government which has been repeatedly exposed of making poor decision, executing its plans with ineptitude, and even lying to us? Why should we trust the medical community which ushered in the current opioid addiction crises and charges us more for health care than housing? Why should we trust the media which is constantly pushing one side or the other to keep us outraged and engaged enough to sell advertising? Do our family and friends know more than us? Do we know enough to make a good decision?
It gets more complicated than this because each of these entities, government, medical community, media, family, friends and crucially our own selves, are not comprised of one mind. They do not speak with one voice, have one perspective, but instead have multiple views and opinions.
The government is not one thing or person. We can assume most people who are part of it are honest and well meaning. We know that some of them are not. As a citizen, it us left up to us to try and figure out who is trustworthy. Even then we know that they can make a mistake.
The CDC is clear about taking the vaccine, but many hospital workers have decided not to take it.
The media is comprised of different companies and individuals, each with an agenda. It is left to us to recognize their agenda and whether we lean in that direction. Even if we align with some media source, we must recognize that they are capable of being wrong.
The same is true with family and friends. If it were not true with myself, then I would have no reason to bother thinking about anything.
Our personal experience may be related to the circumstance of our current health, or it may be that of someone we know that took the vaccine. Have we had covid-19 or do we have another chronic health issue?
There are two specific ways we approach this complexity and we each use both but tend to rely on one or the other more heavily. We both think and have an emotional response to all aspects involved in making our decisions. We are challenged to use critical thinking and be emotionally intuitive. These are the tools we have. The difficulty arises immediately because we bring our own preconceived bias to the subject. As a result, contradictory information and emotional perceptions are not received without our own bias filter.
The only way to get around this problem is to have a willingness to attempt to be open minded. We would like to ask those of us that disagree with our decision to be open minded to our perspective, but if we do not present ourselves as opened minded about their decision why would they trust anything we offered?
There are legitimate arguments to be made whether to take the vaccine or not. When we attempt to make our decision, we must honestly consider all the positions. If we are attempting to help someone else decide, we must try and understand their perspective.
As time goes by more information and experience can continue to inform us if we stay open minded. Now we can see that it is primarily people that have not taken the vaccine are still getting sick and, in many cases, dying. Now we can see that the measures taken about mask wearing and social distancing are only needed because of unvaccinated people.
It is important that the United States upholds its values of individual freedom. It is also important that our culture encourages that we behave in a socially responsible manner. If our decisions affect others than we must take them seriously and personally take responsibility for them.
I listened to government and media sources that I had a level of trust in and that coincided with my personal experience, so it was not difficult for me to decide. Had my personal experience conflicted with what I was listening too, it would have been a more difficult decision.