‘Did you hear it?’ said a friend of mine, red-faced with the flush of a piece of news she couldn’t wait to offload, as she rushed into a church hall where we were attending an event.
She was bursting with excitement because a mutual acquaintance had just been on a radio phone-in show banging the drum for the vaccine. I confessed I had not heard it, because I had no idea she was planning to go on. But it didn’t surprise me because this lady has had a go at me for being ‘one of those anti-vaxxers’ because I won’t have the jab — mainly because I’ve recovered from Covid.
She apparently made quite an impression on the radio. She took the programme by storm, asserting that everyone should have the vaccine because her husband nearly died of Covid despite being previously healthy.
‘What a cheek!’ was my instinctive comment, because that was not what my friend told me at the time. She rang me back then and told me the doctors had warned her that her husband’s kidneys were in bad shape which was why he was struggling to clear the virus.
When they discharged him they told him to change his lifestyle. She told me repeatedly in the months following his release from hospital that he was a new man because the whole experience had been a wake-up call.
But a year later, she’s on a radio phone-in publicly condemning those who don’t want the vaccine on the basis that if her husband can get it and nearly die, then anyone can.
I conclude that there is a lot of misinformation on both sides of this debate. It’s not just the so-called tin foil hat brigade who are churning out myths and hysteria — some of which seem to turn out to be true months later, for some strange reason I’m sure will be explained to us in the end.
For their part, my pro-vaxxer friends are saying just about anything to get the unvaccinated vaccinated so we can have Christmas parties and go on holiday, which of course would be nice. I do get that.
But can they make the leap that the unvaccinated don’t want to be vaccinated even if it is to facilitate leisure travel and evenings out? That is an inconvenience we’re happy to put up with. The long, dark evenings just fly by when you’re polishing your tin hat by the fire while googling the latest conspiracy theories, believe me. There’s never a dull moment when you’ve a YouTube virology lecture to watch.
Also, millions of us don’t fancy the jab for a host of different reasons. We are not all the same. I want to rely on my own natural antibodies having caught Covid and recovered from it during the notorious Delta period, albeit with my sense of smell and taste not quite what they were.
The only thing we tin foil hatters have in common is that we are resisting peer pressure. I’d like to know what evidence there is to show that the vaccine would make me less of a risk to others, especially when an Israeli study shows natural immunity is far stronger and longer lasting than vaccine immunity.
I sometimes get the feeling my vaccinated friends just want me to tick the box so they can get on a plane.
The builder boyfriend insists there is a sea change happening on this front, however. Several of his wealthy customers have told him they don’t care if they never see their villa again.
They have gone from stating, at around the time of the second jab, that everyone must be vaccinated, to stating, from around the time of the third jab, that they will not countenance any more being put into them or their children. Two of the BB’s richest customers have put their villas on the market.
‘I’ve had two jabs but I’m not having any more,’ a female friend in her early sixties tells me. And she is someone who gets on a plane every few months to go somewhere sunny. She seems suddenly not to care that her vaccine papers will soon expire, and that without a third jab, and a fourth or fifth one next year, she won’t be able to take a mini-break.
Are the ranks of the unvaccinated about to swell in numbers? I’m not recommending either strategy to anyone. I support the right of the individual to make their own decision.
All I can say is that it’s not as cold and inhospitable in the land of conspiracy theories as it used to be, back when the only people prepared to say they had not been jabbed were those with skins so thick they didn’t mind being condemned as moronic — which, completely incidentally, is an anagram of Omicron.