We haven't received our Covid vaccines. We are not antivaxers. We have had our children vaccinated as a matter of course over the years. And yet we haven't received the Covid vaccine. There are many reasons for this in our thinking, but let me set the stage for you when it comes to our thinking. What we bring to any discussion of a vaccine, and what is on our mind always where medications and vaccinations are concerned, is as follows.
First, years ago we gave our second oldest son, who had a few health problems early on, an over the counter med when he was little. He ballooned up and broke out in a rash. We asked his then-pediatrician about it. She insisted the reaction couldn't have been that particular medicine. Reactions to that cold medicine do not look like that. Therefore the next time he got sick, we gave him that medicine again. Once again, he reacted the same way. Once again she insisted that the side effects of that particular medication do not react in such ways. We found a different doctor and stopped giving him that particular medicine. He's had no such reactions since.
Second, years ago after my mom was living with us, she went to get her annual flu shot. We never got the flu shot because we seldom got the flu. And I knew plenty who got the flu shot who ended up getting the flu. So in our family, despite not being antivax, we passed each year on the flu shot.
Mom didn't, however, and received her shot. That very night her shoulder went completely lame. It ached and she was in much pain, being unable to use her shoulder where she received the shot. We took her to the doctor the next day and asked how the shot could cause that. He said it couldn't. That is not a side effect of any flu shot. We went to an expert, and the expert insisted the same thing, that it was merely a sudden flare up of severe arthritis. I said that may be true, but the morning before her shot she didn't have any problems.
True, years earlier she had something happen and to this day nobody knows what. Doctors said it was everything from a stroke to shingles. But since then, her shoulder and arm were generally back to normal until she had the flu shot that afternoon. Nonetheless, they insisted the two were not connected. It may have been a flare up owing to the condition she had some years earlier, but it was simply a coincidence that it became bad on that particular day.
Finally, my oldest son was on track to be a gourmet chef because of his love for - and abilities with - cooking. He had done some basic education at a local community college owing to his white privilege. Before he transferred, his doctor - wrongly - told him that to go to any university would require his vaccines be up to date, including his flu shot. He explained we didn't get that shot normally, but the doctor - former doctor - pressed him. So he, alone among all of us, got his first flu shot along with updating a couple other vaccines.
A few months later we were eating at a restaurant and he began to choke. We thought perhaps he was eating too fast. He managed to get it down and my wife drove him home while the rest of us finished. We thought no more of it. Some months later, we had friends over and he planned on cooking a fine salmon dinner for us. While bringing the dishes out to us on the deck, he looked like hell. He face was swollen, he was having a difficult time breathing. One of our friends was a nurse and she recognized immediately a severe food allergy reaction. We were able to use meds at hand to reduce the symptoms. We then took him to the doctor and an allergist and they diagnosed him with a severe fish allergy. Since we didn't eat fish that often unless it's Lent, it took us time to see this development.
We pointed out that he had never had anything close to a reaction to fish or any food. We also pointed out that we first saw this only after he received that battery of vaccines at his doctor's insistence. Nonetheless, they said these things were in no way connected. There was no reason to think his sudden, and debilitating, food allergy is in any way connected to the vaccines.
So that's our experience. Not once has anything gone wrong with us from getting vaccines. We know this because every doctor, specialist and medical expert has insisted it hasn't. Dumb, blind luck and cosmic coincidence, but no connection. Causation and correlation after all.
My mom has been unable to use her arm since then. Furthermore, it was her inability to use her arm that led to her falling, which led to a near death emergency that, among other things, hastened her dementia as such medical crises often do.
My oldest had to give up on a culinary career. No culinary school or restaurant would hire a chef who could die in the kitchen from simply smelling fish or fish ingredients. He can't go to a random restaurant, but must call ahead to make sure they don't serve fish. No trips to the beach, aquariums, or anything with the smell of fish in the air. He can't be around if a coworker brings fish for lunch. He can't even be in a Walmart supercenter if they are cleaning the seafood department, even if he stands on the other side of the store, without developing symptoms.
Yet none of this is connected to vaccines, because the experts assure us they aren't. We are not antivaxers, and have always made sure our boys were up to date with all of the essentials. But we are also skeptical. We are skeptical because nobody seemed the least bit interested in looking at even the possibility that, say, a modern flu shot could trigger a reaction they don't expect. Even as, according to a BBC article a few years ago, food allergies are exploding exponentially since the 1990s, they're sure there is no connection. More than that, they don't seem interested in even entertaining the possibility.
If that's the case with these, could it not be the case with the Covid vaccine? We've known many who received their shots. Most have had no major problems, only the usual shot reaction. A few became sick, a couple very sick. Two we know had emergencies and had to rush to the ER. One has developed a blood clot.
Then again, we know several who have tested positive for Covid. To this day, only a couple had the slightest symptoms. Most who were found to have Covid had no symptoms at all. From younger to older, you wouldn't know they had anything. Some looked healthier than I am while they had it.
None of this is to say I recommend not getting the Covid vaccine. We're still on the fence. I'm not saying we never will, but this might explain why we're a bit hesitant. And that's with vaccines in general. With Covid, misinformation is an added problem, including the kind you find on social media. The inconsistency of messaging that has defined the Covid era also doesn't help. Plus it's impossible for me not to see that with Covid there might be medical considerations in what we are told, but you can't miss the politically motivated considerations that appear just as important.