On a more serious note
So, I'm going to deviate somewhat from the stuff I normally write to touch on something serious for a change. I don't do this often, but in the best tradition of Star Trek itself I'm not shying away from a topical issue I feel is important to discuss.
Over a year into this ongoing pandemic we have a number of vaccines available around the world with even more on the way. Researchers, Scientists, Doctors, Nurses, and all manner of medical personnel in laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and tents have worked tirelessly (my own wife among them) for this moment. For many of these people the work has shifted from caring for the sick and dying, to vaccinating humanity against this disease. It's a vital, and necessary act.
Just as vital and for the good of our species - is the need for everyone able to receive a vaccination to do so.
The other day I took the first of two shots required for vaccination against Covid-19, and within an hour of that dose I encountered people who said that they had no intention of being inoculated against this virus. Not because they had any physiological reason to refuse the vaccine, but because they simply didn't want it. That disturbed me greatly.
I had encountered someone (more than one) with an ideological objection to a preventative shot against a viral entity whose very existence has been so costly to our entire world.
I thought of Star Trek, and medical personnel like Doctor McCoy, Nurse Chapel (eventually an M.D. herself), Doctor M'Benga and others like Crusher, Bashir, Voyager’s EMH, and Phlox - who searched for cures to deadly ailments usually under dire circumstances.
You wouldn't refuse medication from any of them, right? So why now?
There's actually quite a few reasons people give - allergic reactions to certain medical ingredients is one valid reason. But among the vast majority of people refusing to take their medicine, it really comes down to trust.
Distrust in today's institutions, in governments, in medical centers, and leaders.
Decades (in some cases centuries) of systematic, institutionalized inequality has eroded the trust necessary for some people to roll up their sleeves for a shot, and that can't just be hand-waved away.
But, like it or not - believe it or not... mass inoculation has to happen.
For your own health, for the health of people you love, for the health of people around you, in your community, in your country, and for your species, we all need to do the simple heroic thing and be vaccinated.
While worldwide clinical trials have largely proven that almost everyone can receive Covid-19 vaccines, there may be some who have underlying medical issues, and thus valid concerns about being vaccinated. With that in mind,
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has provided an info page to help people with these concerns which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/underlying-conditions.html
People forget, but the Polio virus once raged around the world, destroying lives everywhere it went. When the Salk Vaccine became available, people took it.
When the later Sabin-Chumakov vaccine became available, even more had access to it and between the two vaccines numbers of world wide infections nosedived by 90%. Since then the number of cases reported each year has continually - significantly dropped.
For example, there were an estimated 350,000 cases reported in 1988; now contrast that against just 33 cases of wild Polio in 2018! Today, Polio has mostly been eradicated from our planet through the cooperation of nations around the world and because of ordinary people like you and me taking the vaccine.
That kind of success story can happen again, but only if everyone pulls together to see it done. It requires the same commitment to one another that Spock demonstrated so well in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when he said;
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
That axiom is perfect for the situation we find ourselves in today.
There are no magic words I have that can make anyone feel better regarding something they feel unsure about.
Some people out there - justified or not - feel that by rolling up their sleeve they are opening themselves up to a risk. Here again, Gene Roddenberry has something to say about risk in a scene he inserted into the script for "Return to Tomorrow."
"Risk … risk is our business.
That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her."
Captain Kirk was talking about a different circumstance than the one we find ourselves in today, but he's not wrong. There's risk in every decision we make in life. You can't live without it, but we can’t afford to let doubt keep us from taking those risks that benefit all humanity.
I know that our blogs are usually focused on the more fun aspects of our shared fandoms, but this topic is too important, and the price of inaction too costly to go without some measure of discussion.
As concerned citizens of our shared planet we ask that if you are medically able to do so, that you please consider taking the vaccine as it becomes available to you. You'll be doing more for yourself, your fellow humans, and our future than you may realize.
We have great things to do together, united by this common simple act as the people that inhabit Planet Earth.
Remember, “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning.”
Live Long and Prosper,
If you live in the United States and would like more information about getting a Covid-19 vaccination as the rollout continues, please checkout NBC’s “Plan Your Vaccine” website which has useful tools for determining your eligibility and vaccination locations within the 50 states.