Thursday, May 13, 2021

On Vaccines--In Case of Emergency, You Have a Choice

Is that a catchy slogan? I'm not persuaded. What if we're hanging around in a building somewhere, and there's a fire? There's a clearly marked fire exit. Me, I'm going to make a beeline for that exit and get the hell out. I mean, I won't trample anyone, and I'll try not to get trampled, but no way am I hanging out in a burning building to find out what happens next. 

It's hard for me to understand how getting a COVID vaccination is different. I understand that it was approved on an emergency basis, but holy crap, with hundreds of thousands of Americans dying from the virus, it seemed like an emergency. I knew some of those people. I know others, colleagues of mine, who lost parents. Some of them wonder whether or not they brought it home from school. That's tough to live with. 

Tougher to live with would be knowing I could have done something to stop infection, and I didn't do it. My friends who lost parents did what they could, which in the beginning was nothing. None of us knew exactly what to do. Sometimes we'd hear we should wear masks. Other times we'd hear we shouldn't. And with the idiot in the White House pushing ridiculous non-solutions, and millions heeding them, it was tough for us to get a leg up.

Well, the idiot is gone, and we now know these vaccines are quite effective. We know that we can protect ourselves and others by getting them. I'm not altogether sure what more we need to know. I was recently interviewed by a reporter, who told me that Eva Moskowitz had decided all Moskowitz Academy employees would be required to get vaccines

I was pretty surprised. I'm far from the biggest Moskowitz fan out there, but she's gotten this one right. What is more fundamental than safety? Even if you're in some awful charter school doing 200 hours of homework every week, you ought to protect your life. After all, Moskowitz Academies, like prisons, usually have a release date, and after you've done your 3 to 5, if you've retained your life, you can pursue liberty and happiness.

As far as I'm concerned, public school students deserve the same protections. Therefore, it behooves us to set examples and get vaccinated. While we're always free to run off cliffs like lemmings, be we anti-vaxxers, MAGA lunatics or whatever, the fact is we really should not be entitled to place our students and colleagues at risk. (That's not to mention our families.)

I followed the best advice I could, and stayed away from gatherings of any sort for many months. Unlike Donald Trump, who felt he knew better, I never got COVID. Once a vaccination was available, I sat on my laptop and searched until I could find one. When they became available for my wife and kid, I did the same for them. It wasn't easy. Despite being a UFT chapter leader, I even tried hard to persuade a reluctant AP to get vaccinated. (She did!) That's how much I believe in this. 

Hey, Mulgrew says vaccination is voluntary. You don't have to do it. And I guess the law says since it's an emergency, you don't have to do it. But if that's you, not only are you the guy standing around in the burning building we're all trying to escape, but you also show no consideration for your colleagues, your students, your friends, or even your family. 

There are a lot of things worth fighting for. The right to hang around a burning building and spread the fire to others, well, that's simply not one of them.

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