We must swallow our pride and roll up our sleeves

Your hesitancy or outright opposition to the  COVID vaccines may not result in  your own death, but it could very  well cause pain, suffering and death among others. | Getty Images

COVID-19 vaccination rates lag in rural areas and among farm families. I’ve tried to understand this vaccine hesitancy, but I find none of the lame brain arguments viable.

“Oh, I’m not around many people and the infection rate has been low around here.”

Lots of rural people have had COVID and the delta variant is far more infectious. Why wouldn’t you want to protect yourself, your family and everyone else around you?

“The vaccines were rushed and weren’t properly tested. I don’t want to be a guinea pig.”

You can never completely predict long-term effects, but hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated with a very low rate of serious adverse reactions. The vast majority of people getting COVID and ending up in hospital are the unvaccinated.

Why would you worry about some phantom long-term side effects when, if you end up in an intensive care unit, what they’ll need to put into you has some nasty side effect profiles that are known? Plus, many people who contract COVID have had long-lasting health issues.

The vaccines aren’t 100 percent. No one ever claimed they would be, but an interesting analogy was posted on Twitter.

Vaccinated people are like wet logs. Unvaccinated people are like dry kindling. Can wet logs catch fire? Yes. Can wet logs spread fire once they catch flame? Sure. But it’s much harder to start a fire with wet logs and nearly impossible when there’s no more dry kindling.

Some of the unvaccinated say they trust in God and if they get COVID it will be God’s will. If you’re religious you might consider everything is God’s will, but that doesn’t mean you should stand in the middle of a busy freeway in the middle of the night.

The vaccine hesitant I’ve encountered tend to be younger males with a strong work ethic and an independent streak. I like and respect many of them, but I can’t respect their decision. While they aren’t the fanatics attending anti-vax rallies, they are the reason we’re still in this mess.

In rural regions, a shocking percentage of eligible people aren’t fully vaccinated. There’s way too much dry kindling. Our urban cousins have been far more responsible.

The list of terrible diseases all but defeated by vaccination is long. Nearly everyone got these shots as a youngster.

As soon as we had access to an adequate amount of vaccine, COVID should have been in our rear-view mirror. Instead, it’s again a growing threat. This fall and winter, we’re headed for more deaths, an overwhelmed health system and more restrictions.

You can’t force someone to get vaccinated, so the only tool left is to steadily restrict what people can do and where they can go if they haven’t had the jabs. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has reversed his stand on vaccine passports. Alberta’s Jason Kenny and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe will be forced to follow a similar path.

Everyone is tired of hearing about COVID statistics, but ignoring the crisis won’t make it go away. More dark days are likely ahead and the tragedy is that it didn’t have to be this way.

If you haven’t had your vaccinations and you’re still reading this, give your head a shake. Your hesitancy or outright opposition to the COVID vaccines may not result in your own death, but it could very well cause pain, suffering and death among others.

Swallow your pride and roll up your sleeve.

Kevin Hursh is an agricultural journalist, consultant and farmer. He can be reached by e-mail at kevin@hursh.ca.

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