What Happened to My Body, My Choice? Why I Haven't Been Vaccinated
I’m constantly grappling with whether I’m being unreasonable for refusing to get vaccinated.
Shortly after I read about President Biden’s plan to send people door-to-door to “encourage” everyone to get the COVID vaccine, I had a terrifying nightmare in which someone came to my home to jab me in the neck with the vaccine. I woke up, thankful that was just a dream. Until I remembered that this situation really isn’t that far from reality these days.
I grew up hearing that experimental drugs are bad, that a woman should be able to choose, that it’s “my body, my choice.” But, in my experience, those things don’t seem to apply in today’s world, at least when it comes to COVID-19 and vaccines.
I feel like a constant ball of worry, grappling with the fear of being forced to get the vaccine and the question of whether I’m being unreasonable in my refusal to willingly take the dang thing. Here’s just a glimpse into what’s rolling around in my mind about these vaccines and the questions I wrestle with daily.
New Drugs Without Much Data Are Bad…Right?
Back in college, I once considered signing up for human experiments because they paid money, and I was broke. Now I’m quite glad that I never actually became a human guinea pig; I shudder to think of the side effects I could be experiencing now because of some experimental drug I would have ingested just for a few bucks.
I flash back to this near miss when I consider the COVID-19 vaccines. Do I get one, knowing full well that it’s really new and we don’t have a ton of data on it yet—and that the manufacturers have zero liability if something should go wrong in my body should I take it? Or do I just say no like I was taught to do?
I am probably one of the worst people at being sick. I hate it. And everyone around me hates it because I cannot hold in all my sniveling misery—I cry and complain and generally suck to be around. If there was truly a cold and flu vaccine that prevented me from ever getting sick, I’d be one of the first to sign up. But I’ve gotten the flu vaccine before and ended up horribly ill—worse than I can ever remember in my life—and I was sick a lot as a kid, so I have some experience here.
In this way, I struggle with getting a COVID vaccine because the other shots meant to prevent illness didn’t work for me. Getting the flu vaccine and then spending a week on the couch (twice) sicker than ever makes me wonder: If I get the COVID shot, will I actually avoid getting COVID? Or will it be like the flu vaccine where I’ll get COVID worse than ever?
My Body’s History of Weird Reactions
Further complicating things is that I have weird reactions to random things. I’m allergic to Zoloft and break out in a rash, which, as you can imagine, was rather depressing to find out—if you’ll excuse the irony. I also wound up in the hospital once from taking sulfa drugs for a UTI. Then there’s the laundry list of random soaps and lotions I can’t use. My skin freaks out when I use Aveeno lotion, for crying out loud!
Given my propensity to react badly to random things, I am horrified at the potential reactions that I might experience if I give in and get the vaccine. I also have friends who have gotten the vaccine and had devastating side effects. One of my friends was told by Mayo Clinic doctors to get it because it would protect her immunocompromised husband, who is on dialysis and will need a kidney transplant. She was the best organ donor match for him. Until she got the vaccine.
Now she’s got fibromyalgia and can no longer donate an organ to him.
I am heartbroken at my friends’ tragedies and outraged that they are being largely ignored by the medical community. And that heartbreak and outrage are confirming to me that this vaccine is likely not going to be a safe thing for my body.
My Voice Isn’t Welcome in Medical Debates
I once made the stupid mistake of condemning the violence, crime and looting that happened in June of 2020 on Facebook. I quickly found out how nasty the people on my friend’s lists were—one guy went so far as to presume he could somehow divine my entire thought process (he was way off) and assume that I was the worst, most racist person on planet Earth before unfriending me.
I sucked it up and learned an unfortunate lesson: As a conservative, my voice and my opinion are silenced, especially when it comes to anything COVID-related.
I learned that lesson again just recently when a school principal I’m friends with mentioned how worried she was about masks and that the new variants are impacting the unvaccinated only. I told her that wasn’t true, that vaccinated people have also been hospitalized and died—she shut me down immediately and wouldn’t even listen. I had to bite my tongue so hard and walked away so angry because she refused to even allow room for me to have an opinion.
I do not want the vaccine. But that doesn’t mean I think other people shouldn’t get it if that’s what they want. And I don’t silence people who think differently about it than I do
I’m Still Scared I’ll Be Forced to Take the Vaccine
In some ways, I feel like I’m crazy. I battle between thinking I’m overreacting and buying into a conspiracy theory. But I also feel that I’m being gaslit and that I’m actually interpreting all the craziness correctly as some larger and more terrifying plot (for what, I really don’t know). I feel like I am selfish because I’m not getting the vaccine.
But then I think…wait a minute. It’s basically a brand new medical treatment and people with legitimate questions are being shut up. People I know are experiencing tragic consequences because they took the COVID vaccine. And the world is nuts, and so I keep my resolve to not willingly get this thing injected into my arm.
And I remain terrified that, despite the phrase “my body, my choice” being drilled into my brain, I will be forced into taking a vaccine that I do not want and that, quite frankly, could even kill me.