Why should people feel shame for protecting their health?
Doctors in states currently experiencing the worst surges of COVID-19 such as Missouri, are reporting a growing number of people coming forwards to receive their vaccination in disguise or requesting anonymity and secrecy over their decision. The trend came to light at the start of August.
While confidentiality is always a right, it seems these people are fearful of the possible backlash they might face from family and friends or on social media for getting their shot.
Speaking to the Kansas City Star, Doctor Priscilla Frase revealed the trend, emphasizing it as a reason why Ozark Healthcare are now offering vaccines in private settings as a means of encouraging vaccine uptake. The measures demonstrate the lengths that medical professionals are going to, to try and encourage as many people as possible to get their shots amidst rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
Ozarks healthcare also shared a video addressing the facts about getting vaccinated via their Facebook page in an attempt to overcome objections from prospective patients.
These moves demonstrate the extent to which public choices are being shaped by the vast array of misinformation and judgment that's commonplace regarding the vaccine from those who advocate for it and those anti-vaxxers who are vocal about their objections.
The situation in Missouri clearly illustrates that there are many who want to get vaccinated but who are fearful of the consequences from those they know if their decision to get the shot were to come out in the open - to the extent that they are showing up for their shot in disguise!
A lack of political leadership
The level of fear and mistrust surrounds the vaccine, largely due to vocal critics in the Republican party and right-leaning media outlets such as Fox News who seem intent on casting doubt upon its effectiveness or the motives the government has for wanting to vaccinate as many citizens as possible.
Governor Parson of Missouri is a prime example of this - broadcasting the GOP party line that vaccine and mask mandates violate freedoms, while at the same time ensuring that he and his loved-ones are vaccinated. The same goes for leading public figures in the Republican party and at Fox News who have all had their shots.
In July Governor Parson was one of many GOP officials who objected to the plan from President Biden to offer vaccines in the community via outreach, claiming it would be an over-reach of government:
Meanwhile, those who are coming forward for the vaccine in disguise indicate that there are many who are feeling unwarranted shame or fear and hence don't feel able to get vaccinated as much as Parson might want to believe they feel free to choose.
The situation in Missouri remains difficult
The COVID situation in Missouri remains dire at present. According to Data collated by the New York Times, as of August 3:
- Missouri has the second highest number of daily hospitalizations of all states with 1,981 admissions daily, second only to Florida
- Over the last 14 days it has averaged 18 deaths per day - again, second only to Florida
- Missouri's vaccination rate remains at 41%, well behind the US as a whole (at 50%)
Given these statistics it seems essential that measures are taken to encourage as many citizens as possible to get vaccinated such that they will have at least some protection against the delta variant of COVID-19.
If facilities allowing private vaccination are what some people need so that they can avoid feelings of shame or fear about doing what's right, then perhaps that's necessary for now.
Do you think it's right that some people should feel shamed about wanting to get vaccinated? Let me know in the comments section below.
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