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HORIZON BLOG

Dad Says NO to the Vaccine

 

Question

"My father refuses to get the COVID vaccination. Now that people over 65 in our state qualify, we want to take him to get it. He says no. He also never gets a flu shot. He just doesn’t think it’s necessary. 

My dad is overweight, has heart disease, and a bunch of other things. We don’t want to lose him to COVID, yet we cannot convince him to get the shots. 

Should we keep trying, or just drop it and let the chips fall where they may?"

 

Answer

I suspect this discussion is going in in a lot of homes right now. It’s a decision that every single one of us must make. Those that do not get flu shots or any other immunizations when recommended may not jump at the opportunity to get the new ones. 

I suspect your father looks at it like, “I haven’t gotten whatever is going around all these years, so I’m not likely going to get this either,” or some version of that. Now, he could be right. If he dodges the flu each year and never gets a flu shot, he might feel invincible. I suspect also that he has not lost anyone close to COVID yet. 

Where his logic is flawed is that COVID is spreading far faster in our communities and is far deadlier than the flu in the elderly. COVID is not the annual influenza. It’s a new disease and it carries risks that are potentially far-ranging. Knowing what we know about polio--would he refuse that vaccine just because he has not gotten the flu? Most people would not.

Some folks these days refuse all vaccinations for a variety of reasons. Luckily for them, most other people are vaccinated, so the incidence of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and such are very rare in the United States, and their exposure risk is low in general. COVID is not that rare right now. He is not yet protected by the herd around him. The incidence is too high.

I do not know if you will be able to convince your father that vaccination is a good idea. If the daily news has not yet convinced him to get vaccinated, I am not sure he will listen to you. 

What you can do is get vaccinated yourself to help prevent you from bringing the disease to him, when your group becomes eligible. 

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. It is protective, and most people choose to be vaccinated. However, there are those that would rather face the risk of getting the disease. Maybe it’s because they have been lucky so far, or they lack true understanding of the risk the disease poses to them. 

I understand that your father is making a choice that you do not agree with. It sounds like you have had reasoned discussion with him. It is the best you can do at this point.  

 

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