April 10, 2021

The Best Argument Against Getting the COVID Vaccine

medical mask

In order for this intentionally brief post to make any sense at all, I need to convince you of something first. When I say that something is "the best argument I have heard against" something, this does not mean that I consider it to be a good argument. In fact, it could be an extremely poor argument. All such a statement means is that I consider it the best argument I've heard in what could be a vast collection of weak arguments.

With that out of the way, the best argument I've heard against getting one of the COVID vaccines when one is eligible to do so would have to be some version of the following:

I looked into it, but it doesn't seem like getting vaccinated changes much of anything. The CDC is making it sound like getting vaccinated only means I can do a few more things somewhat more safely. These are things I either am already doing or don't particularly care about doing. If I still have to social distance with strangers and wear a damn mask everywhere I go, I don't see any point in getting vaccinated. Why take the risk when there is relatively little to be gained?

While I do not personally agree with this argument, as evidenced by my choosing to get vaccinated the day after I became eligible to do so, I can understand why someone might make it. For me, the upside of getting vaccinated is more than sufficient; the person making this argument does not feel that way.

I can't help think that this has been a failure of messaging to some degree, as well as a lack of strategic incentivizing. If getting vaccinated meant a complete and rapid return to normal, few would resist it. I realize that isn't the case. At least, it doesn't sound like it is. I am not suggesting we condone any more lying. I'm just thinking that there are many people out there who are going to be reluctant to get vaccinated if they don't see it as being in their self-interest (i.e., the benefits don't exceed the risks). Once we reach the point where everyone who wants to get vaccinated has been able to do so, we will need to work on persuading those who remain reluctant that there is something in it for them. By then, I suspect it will be too late for "vaccine passports" to be a viable strategy. Perhaps this is something we should have done sooner.