Open letter to Florida’s unvaccinated

By refusing to get the shot, you’re swinging open the door and inviting in all of Delta’s unrulier, nastier relatives to invade our homes and schools and workplaces.


So, you may have heard our governor’s recent comments suggesting that vaccinated people need not worry about those choosing to be unvaccinated.

“At the end of the day…it’s about your health and whether you want that protection or not,” he said about vaccinations. “It really doesn’t impact me or anyone else.”

This, my friends, is complete horseradish.

For one thing, the longer this virus can hang around, the more chances it has to keep mutating into a leaner and meaner version of itself. A few months ago, the hyper-contagious Delta variant first started to get a foothold in our state — but because all of you stood on the sidelines, that foothold soon became a chokehold.

If we continue down this road, then let me tell you, it is outright insanity to assume this is the last variant we’ll see. By refusing to get the shot, you’re swinging open the door and inviting in all of Delta’s unrulier, nastier relatives to invade our homes and schools and workplaces.

Eventually, some muscly Super-Covid will emerge that’ll be able to punch right through our vaccine guard and lay us out flat on the canvas. What if you unwittingly infect a coworker, friend or relative? And what if that person suffers greatly or even dies? What if it can be traced back to you? Would you really be all right just shrugging your shoulders at that realization?

All of you say you want to return to normalcy, right? Then what can be a faster trackback to the way things were pre-pandemic than to get a simple shot that’ll beat this virus into the ground? Will it wipe it from the face of the earth entirely? Likely not. But if we can corral it to the point where it is no longer a factor in our daily lives, isn’t that a goal-line worth running toward?

You want more normalcy? How about doing something to ease the plight of our overburdened health care system, which is creaking from the weight of new COVID patients? Do you really want to suffer a heart attack or get into a bad car accident, only to be told at the hospital that there are currently no ICU beds for you?

And what about the doctors and nurses who make sure COVID patients receive the best care and have the best chance of survival? Since this whole thing started, these people have been taxed to their limits, and believe me, they want you to get the shot. Do you truly believe that you’re the only ones affected by holding out?

I could understand hesitancy — to a point — about some vaccines while clinical trials are ongoing. But our current vaccines have all passed the rigorous standards and have been declared very safe and very efficacious for the better part of a year now. Of course, all vaccines may carry side effects like sore arms or fatigue.

The number of more severe effects have occurred at such an extremely low rate that they are statistically insignificant. Without question, the good outweighs the bad here. What more do you need? Do you want to follow those of us who’ve been vaccinated around to see if our noses start falling off and plopping into our coffee cups? Or watch for pinky fingers to suddenly sprout at the base of our necks?

If you are about to offer the term “personal freedom” as a rebuttal while you continue to spread a deadly virus around, well, then I feel I have to remind you that freedom doesn’t come without responsibility.

Yes, you are free to swing your Louisville Slugger around in your home. No, you are not free to take a few practice swings while on a crowded bus. Yes, you are free to hop into your car and drive to your favorite Mexican restaurant. No, you are not free to gun it up to 110 miles per hour on the way there or to run any stop signs or red lights you may come across, just to make it in time for the enchilada lunch specials.

To be a functioning society, we must have a set of rules and laws in place. If you break them and cause harm not only to yourself but others, then sorry, but your “freedom” argument gets heaved into the dumpster where it belongs.

During a recent conversation I had with a friend, I expressed support for any business owners who would hang a “No vax, no entry” sign on their doors. His immediate response? “Oh, so you want to promote segregation?”

I looked at him as if though he had three heads. Segregation? Really? Forcing Native Americans to move to a reservation is segregating people. Making Black children attend separate schools is segregating people. Posting a sign on your storefront informing customers that they must wear shirts and shoes to enter your establishment is not an attempt to burden anyone with the cruel yoke of segregation. And doing what you can to protect your employees and customers on your private property from a virus that has claimed the lives of too many Floridians already is just common sense.

At any point in the future, do you want to see “No vax, no entry” signs popping up on doors of theaters, gyms, diners, bars, libraries and boutiques all over? If you continue to refuse the shot and the virus continues to crush us, then we very well may be heading there.

Many of you had proclaimed that you support businesses at all costs, and they should never have been made to shut down or operate only at a certain capacity. Don’t kid yourself; businesses continue to suffer from the unmitigated spread of COVID these days, and since you are the ones driving this virus now, you are doing them far more harm than good.

So, if you still refuse, I have to ask: what exactly is the endgame here? To ride it out a few months until…what, flu season? It should go without saying that wintertime is the playground of communicable viruses. And then guess what–summer will come around again, bringing yet another surge. Or maybe you think we’ll eventually reach a state of natural herd immunity? How’s that working out for us so far?

This year has been astronomically worse for us than 2020, as we have become a cautionary tale of how not to deal with a deadly pandemic. How many more people have to get sick in this state and die to achieve this magical place naturally? Or maybe you’re just hoping we’ll all just get tired of trying to convince you, and the whole thing will work itself out somehow.

But it should be clear by now that by refusing to get vaccinated, you’re ensuring that we’ll be slogging through this state of uncertainty for years to come — shouting matches, sickness, mistrust, masked-up faces, more sickness, death. I know you want all this to go away; we’re all in agreement there.

It’s in your hands now. Make the right move — for all of us.

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