Giving Away Their Shot
The Midweek Conversation
The news this week once again comes with a tsunami of headlines, but one story remains stubbornly consistent — in ways both good and bad. It’s the COVID vaccines, wonders of modern science and sadly yet another political football being fumbled near the goal line.
The story should be one of triumph. These vaccines, especially the ones being administered in the United States, have an efficacy that is jaw dropping, even against the newest variant of fear, the Delta, which is sweeping Europe and has arrived on our shores.
We have been given an escape pod from the horrors of death and illness, and millions of Americans have rushed to get shots in arms. But not all, not nearly enough, especially in some places. Disinformation, lies, ignorance, and politics, as well as some understandable legacies of fear in certain populations, are all to blame. What this has meant in real-world data is the vaccine rates are increasingly resembling the familiar red/blue divide, not only at the state level, but at the county level. So we have some places where scientists say we have reached herd immunity, and other places where the herd is marching in lock-step towards danger.
What this likely means is that as the Delta variant spreads, some places will be protected and others vulnerable. I hope I’m wrong but we are likely to have local flare-ups and unnecessary pain, suffering, and death. On a national and global level, the only way we crush COVID is if we do it together. It is not enough to have pockets of safety interspersed throughout the country, or even the world. Whenever COVID spreads, the risk of more dangerous variants will also rise.
So what I want to talk about today is what you’re seeing in your communities and neighborhoods, among your friends and family. I hope and trust most if not all of you who can be vaccinated have been. If you have decided not to, and are willing to share why, please do so in the comments. (A reminder that this should be a safe space for conversation.)
More broadly, I want to know if you live in a place that is highly vaccinated or sparsely so. I want to know what you hear from people you know who are not vaccinated. Have you listened to their fears and reasons for hesitation? Have you been able to reassure them that the vaccine is worth it? I know you, our wonderful readership community, lives all across the country and around the world. So I am eager to create a forum for a diversity of stories from a wide variety of locales. I hope you engage with each other to improve our collective empathy and understanding, plus of course any tips that may help tick up those vaccine rates.
Thanks as always for adding your voice and engaging with the Steady community.
—Dan and Steady Team
Some ground rules for these Wednesday chats (and also the comments sections on other posts):
I want a space where people feel safe to express their views, as long as they are offered in good faith.
I want a space where ideas can be challenged, especially my own.
I want debate. But I want it to be civil.
I want people to come here with open minds, and open hearts.
I want this to be fun as well as serious.
We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.