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Op-ed: ‘Just get the damn shot’

Op-ed: ‘Just get the damn shot’
Dr. Anthony Fauci gives update on omicron variant.

It’s the seemingly never-ending pandemic. As soon as we adapted to the delta variant, along came omicron. 

Sounding like a killer parasite in an early Michael Crichton novel, the latest COVID variant has people scared, but apparently not scared enough for the unvaccinated to get the vaccine.

We still need to get several million people to quit paying attention to Joe Rogan and more attention to their family doctors—well, if we have those anymore.

Worse, people in many countries are desperate to get vaccinated and cannot. Treatment is lacking in certain quarters, while governments around the world are discussing and ordering lockdowns and travel bans are. So, after struggling with the coronavirus for two years, are we any closer to the end of the pandemic?

I asked Dr. Anthony Fauci that question on Dec. 1, when the chief medical advisor held a White House press conference for the first time in months.

“The endgame, which we hope and I think will occur, is that as we get more people vaccinated —not only in this country but globally—we will see a situation where viruses will not have the opportunity. what they have right now is to essentially freely distribute and freely circulate in society, both domestic society and global society.”

He continued: “The more protection you get with vaccines, the less likelihood a virus has to do that, the less likelihood a virus has to mutate, the less likely you’re going to get a variant. We need … to do the things we’ve been saying every single day, not only for ourselves but internationally, and we’ll continue to…get low- and middle-income countries vaccinated.”

Before walking off the stage, Fauci said: “There’s no doubt that this will end. I promise you that: This will eventually end.”

So, the trick is to outlive the virus until it is no longer lethal. It’s a numbers game. Gamblers, take notes. For those playing the odds, that’s another reason to take the vaccine. It improves your chances of survival significantly. Hang around folks. 

It’s a hard world to live in when people politicize science and act like characters in an Asimov novel burning down their village because they don’t understand what causes nightfall. But that’s what we’re doing as we talk about vaccines and science—especially those in Congress who do so. What’s the next step? Round up and arrest the scientists who don’t agree with a congressman who is so openly stupid he could never get a job waiting tables? Maybe Rand Paul could handle being a busboy. 

Now, more than ever, the world is counting on US leadership to supply the means to end this pandemic. We are continuing to try and rise to the challenge, despite the medieval attitudes of some of the non-vaxxing rabble.

But the naysayers are quick after Biden. Some say he’s already failed to quell the virus he swore to eradicate. They point to the numbers who’ve died to prove their point. This narrative is nonsense and lacks an understanding of science, but it sure gets the rabble roused. And the rabble love to be roused. Add some pitchforks and squeals, and you get the idea. 

The White House continues to deal with the pandemic by putting needles in arms and handing out the needles to put in arms around the world—all while some of our own people fight against the effort to save lives.

It isn’t just the general public. I know a reporter who refuses to get the vaccine. This reporter even got very sick with COVID and was hospitalized. Now this person complains about having to pay for COVID testing required before any non-vaccinated individual may enter the White House. 

“You realize, of course, you wouldn’t need to be tested and wouldn’t get charged if you just got vaccinated,” I reminded this person. “That’s a different issue.” I was told. The two are inexorably linked. It’s almost Newtonian; for every action there’s an opposite and equal reaction.

When you believe a free choice frees you from responsibility for that choice, pointing that fact out is not a different issue. 

The White House shouldn’t charge anyone for tests. That much is certain. But most reporters don’t have to be tested because they’ve been vaccinated. Only the pool and those in close proximity to the president are routinely tested any more. They don’t pay. That being said, if you know you’re expected to pay for the tests if and you won’t get vaccinated, then you are also responsible for the drama you brought into your life. Just get the damn shot.

People in countries are begging for it and in our arrogance and often ignorance, yet some Americans would actually rather die than get vaccinated. Case in point: Marcus Lamb, 64, co-founder of the Christian TV network Daystar, who railed against vaccines, just died of COVID. Under Lamb’s leadership, Daystar aired repeated baseless anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and claims that vaccines were being used to take freedoms away from Christians. 

It’s their choice, I guess, to get the rest of us infected. At its core, it’s making a free choice and then wanting to be freed from the repercussions of that choice. That’s either lunacy or the act of a spoiled child. It certainly isn’t the act of a functioning society. And it isn’t very Christian either.

Brian Karem

Brian Karem is the former senior White House correspondent for Playboy magazine. He successfully sued Donald Trump to keep his press pass after Trump tried to suspend it. He has also gone to jail to defend a reporter's right to keep confidential sources.