Vaccine hesitancy is real. People are afraid. Some believe silly things, like Bill Gates is putting chips into the vaccine doses so we can be tracked. He doesn’t have to. People are being tracked using their cell phones. Anyway, chips (which are in short supply these days) couldn’t fit through the tiny needle they jab you with.

Others believe that the vaccine can kill you. And guess what? They are right!

I met a nurse, and we started discussing the COVID-19 vaccines. She said, “EVERY vaccine has deadly side effects and severe reactions for a very small percentage of the people.”

She explained that over 6,000 people in the United States had died from the vaccine. I looked it up. She’s right. It was closer to 6,200 people.

Now let’s put this in context. According to the CDC, over 470 million doses of Covid vaccine have been delivered in the U.S., and 6,200 people have died from the vaccine, with severe reactions for a small minority. And, yes, reactions must be investigated and reported. On the other hand, 785,000 people have died of Covid. People have also had severe reactions from the Covid virus including loss of taste, damaged organs, neurological issues, long-hauler issues like chronic fatigue syndrome and brain fog, cardiovascular issues like chest pain and palpitations, and stomach and gastrointestinal problems.

The chances of dying of COVID-19 in the U.S. is around 1 in 680 people. Or about 15 per 10,000 people. The older, more overweight, or less healthy people are three-to-12 times more likely to die from Covid than healthy younger people. Any age group can get severe reactions to the virus, however. The chances of people, 18 and older, dying of the Covid vaccines is 18 in a million.

Take your pick. With those odds, I'd take the vaccine any day—especially for older people or if you have health issues like diabetes, heart problems, or being overweight. Covid also has lots of long-term side effects that I wouldn't want.

Calaveras county has had 89 Covid deaths. Our rate is 20 in 10,000—higher than the average by 33%. Why? Partly because we are a Republican stronghold. (The other part is that 28% of our population is over 65). We only have 50% of the population fully vaccinated in Calaveras County. Liberal San Francisco has 80%. According to the latest numbers by Kaiser, Republican vaccination rates have flatlined at 59%. In comparison, 91% of Democrats are vaccinated. Republicans are almost three times more likely to die from Covid than Democrats. Why? Because so many more are unvaccinated. A study by NPR showed this to be true in 3,000 counties across the country.

I know vaccinated liberals who smirk about unvaccinated Republicans dying. They mention Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.” They are angry that Republicans have made getting a vaccine and masks a political issue instead of a health issue. They see mandates as a way to get us over this pandemic. Some try to educate with data instead of condemning with a fleeting hope that the “brainwashed” will finally see reason. (That’s me!)

Some conservatives think that Democrats are “brainwashed.” Many don’t believe the government and hospital figures of deaths. There is a massive coverup that the vaccine is deadly, killing more people than Covid. Democrats are “sheeple” for getting the vaccine and wearing masks. Anyway, our bodies have natural defenses against disease. Covid is overblown. And nobody is forcing them to get a vaccine.

Whatever your beliefs, remember this: people are dying. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and children are losing a loved one. Have compassion and understanding whether they do or don’t get vaccinated.

In this political climate when misinformation is rampant, it’s hard to get the real facts. We know that belief in false statements highly correlates with vaccination status. Currently, the vast majority of Covid deaths are among the unvaccinated. And now we have the new omicron variant that has 32 mutations. Could it evade the vaccine? Not enough data is in yet to determine how contagious or dangerous it is.

Meanwhile, a new vaccine known as Mosquinix, devised to fight malaria, has been approved by the World Health Organization. Children must get it when they are 5 months old, with three booster shots over the following three years. The disease is endemic to almost 100 countries near the equator and is estimated to have killed billions. About 400,000 die each year. Survivors often have lingering effects their entire life.

Will there be side effects? Will some children die? Would you give your child the vaccine if you lived with malaria? It’s all a matter of odds I suppose.

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