Last Friday, I got “the jab” as the Brits say. Here in the States, we simply call it getting “the shot.” That shot, of course, is the COVID-19 vaccine, and in my case, it was the first dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pfizer-BioNTech version is 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness. And while being fully vaccinated (I am scheduled for my second dose on April 23) won’t totally prevent me from contracting COVID-19, it will almost certainly prevent me from becoming severely ill (or worse) from the virus that turned our world inside out for the better part of what is now about 16 months.
I must say that I am extremely grateful to now be at least partially vaccinated. And I am even more grateful for, and frankly in awe of, the scientists and the drug makers that put their knowledge, effort and capital to use to create this life-saving vaccine. I am also grateful for the Trump administration and Operation Warp Speed, the battle plan it launched to fast track five vaccine candidates to produce a viable vaccine in record-breaking time.
Yet much to my surprise, and to my rational dismay, there seems to be a very large contingent of Americans who openly say that they are not planning to get the vaccine. Moreover, that group tends to be overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly Republican. And since many in my audience also are male and Republican, I thought it important to speak out on this issue.
According to a recent NPR/PBS/Marist survey, 49% of Republican men said they do not plan to get vaccinated. That group was by far the highest number of “refusers” compared to any other demographic group. Among Democratic men, the number of refusers was just 6%.
And this poll isn’t just a one-off either.
A recent CBS News Poll found the following: “Republicans and conservatives are the most likely group to express hesitancy. However, there are clear differences by age, with older Republicans more likely to express willingness to get their shots. In fact, a majority of Republicans age 65 and older report having already been vaccinated, while most of those under age 45 express hesitancy.”
So, why is there hesitancy among younger Republicans? According to the CBS News poll respondents, those who outright say they would not get the vaccine cited as their reason “distrust of the government, as well as of the scientists and companies that make the vaccines.”
Now, I am a small “l” libertarian. That means I think that government should have the smallest possible footprint and influence in our lives. I’m also a “radical for capitalism,” meaning I think the private sector should deal with nearly every issue government currently is involved in except for police, courts and the military.
However, the idea that you would not willingly take a life-saving vaccine because you distrust government, science and pharmaceutical companies is just not rational.
That’s like not eating because you distrust preservatives in your food, or not drinking water because it might have some harmful bacteria.
Yes, I know the vaccine has been fast tracked into existence much quicker than any other before. I also know that the new biotechnology that uses messenger RNA vaccines, also called mRNA vaccines, is the first of its kind. While extremely complicated technically, the mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein or a piece of a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. This technology is new, and it is something to monitor for effects down the road, as any new technology should be.
I also know that we should harbor a healthy distrust of politicians and their motives. And yes, sometimes pharmaceutical companies make mistakes that hurt society, so we shouldn’t have blind trust in that company, or any company.
Yet concentrating on these issues as reasons why one shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine is like saying you don’t want to wear the seatbelt in your car because it will wrinkle your dress shirt. If you get into a head-on collision with another car and you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you’ll have much bigger problems than a wrinkled dress shirt.
So, as my Mexican momma might say, “Don’t be an El Stupido.”
Get yourself “the jab,” and make yourself safe. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones and everyone else to make the rational choice and get yourself protected from the COVID-19 viral menace. Doing so will keep you safe, will help put an end to the pandemic and will help society and our economy get back to normal.
Hey, do you remember normal? I do, and I miss it.
Now, go out and get vaccinated.
P.S. Last Friday, before I got my vaccination, I was a guest on the Unlock Your Wealth Today TV show, hosted by my friend Heather Wagenhals. During our interview, I provided my thoughts on the markets in Q1, and I gave my outlook on what is likely to happen in Q2 and throughout the remainder of the year. If you have some time today, I invite you to check it out.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
— Coach John Wooden, UCLA Basketball
Over the weekend, my alma mater, the UCLA Bruins, played one of the most remarkable Final Four games in college basketball history. And though the Bruins lost their matchup with the Gonzaga Bulldogs via a stunning half-court buzzer beater in overtime, I suspect the legendary John Wooden would have been supremely proud of the team’s extraordinary effort. More importantly, remember what Coach Wooden says here, because though there are plenty of things we can’t do, we owe it to ourselves to do the absolute best at the things we can do.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.