Losing Friends because of the Vaccine
Written by Jordanna Frankel
The story I’m about to share is deeply troubling on a number of levels, both personal and social. I’ve been mostly quiet about my feelings regarding the pandemic, because I’ve been scared of the angry mob that has become of the world.
Now that it has become so personal, I find I must share both my story and my stance. I hate that I’ve had to draw a line in the sand and choose to step back from a decade-long friendship, but I also feel it’s important to stand up for what’s right… EVEN when a group of people think differently than you. Especially when a group of people thinks differently than you.
First, let me set a few things straight. I believe in vaccines; in 2016 I was bitten by a dog on my neck. I received more than 30 injections around the wound to protect myself against rabies infection, which is 100% deadly. I believe that vaccines save lives and are an important public health measure when protecting communities against disease. I support one’s right to receive however many vaccinations one may want, or need, throughout the course of one’s life.
To be clear, it is not the vaccines to which I am opposed. Rather, it is the belief that segregating communities based on vaccine status when testing exists is anything other than discriminatory. These measures serve only to spawn ill-will and classism where egalitarian ideals once prevailed, leaving little room for exception. In the current zeitgeist there is no grey area, and where there is no grey area, dogmatism and division abound.
This past summer, one of my best friends invited me to their annual Halloween party, a party I’ve been attending on and off for ten years with members of my New York community. This best friend, who was also the host, is an ex, but we had developed a very healthy, loyal friendship…or so I thought.
I hadn’t realized this was a vaccinated only party because, well, he invited me. It was only when I checked in a few days before that things became….complicated. At first my best friend gave me the indication that my partner and I (who are both unvaccinated) would be welcome if we took a rapid test, which was a requirement for everyone and reasonable if you ask me, making such a space unusually safe for us. Then, the day before Halloween, I received a text stating that the planning committee felt unsafe with two unvaccinated people in attendance.
I was no longer welcome. I had been uninvited.
I felt angry and betrayed. I was healthy; so was my partner. We were willing to take a test. On what grounds were we a threat?
At this point I should mention that the planning committee anticipated having between 75-100 New Yorkers, each of whom had likely come into contact with at least 5-20 people per day, if not more.
My partner and I, on the other hand, live a secluded life. We are in close contact with virtually no one except each other, our close family, the people at the dog park, and the people on the trails that we frequent. Very occasionally we dine out. We are also on a daily regimen of Zinc, Quercetin, and D3 and we have no kids.
Unequivocally, two unvaccinated people who live a life of relative isolation and are willing to take a test cannot pose more of a health threat than the nearly 100 New Yorkers who would be in attendance. Though some might not like this framing, it is also the reality. And, if we recall, the CDC guidelines actually stated that the safe ratio for unvaccinated to vaccinated was 1 person for every 6-8 people. In a room of 100 people, my partner and I would have been well within the limit for the CDC guidelines.
When I received the text uninviting me, I chose to make it known that I would be stepping back from the friendship.
That’s when I was somewhat miraculously re-invited. Apparently my friend explained to the planning committee WHY I’m not vaccinated, which prompted their empathy and made them feel more comfortable. (You can watch my video “Why I’m not vaccinated” (1) if you are curious and feel the need to determine for yourselves whether or not my reasoning is, in fact, valid – an impulse that I encourage you to reflect on, either way.)
Suddenly their “health concerns” were no more. I had garnered their sympathy. And so I must ask: If the planning committee’s comfort level changed depending on my reasoning for not getting the jab, rather than my vaccination status itself, was their enforcement of such a draconian policy actually about the health of the body, or was it about the fear and animosity in their hearts toward a group of people who choose differently than them?
There is only one word for what I experienced: discrimination.
The fears of the planning committee were merely that: fears. Enabled by the media and NYC policies, perhaps, but that does not make them valid. Feelings aren’t facts, my therapist always said. Do I believe the planning committee should have made an exception with ease? Absolutely. Especially where best-friends are concerned, rules are made to be broken. I was gutted to discover that this person did nothing to advocate for me until I threatened my friendship. But truly the issue here goes deeper.
Are we, in fact, living in a time of mass psychosis? (2)
“An epidemic of madness” occurs when a large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions – Beliefs that won’t change in light of conflicting evidence.
While it may very well be true that the unvaccinated have fallen prey to such madness, every action has an equal yet opposite reaction: mad policies breed mad responses.
Though the evidence was clear that my partner and I posed no greater threat than the one already present, no one on the committee “followed the science.” A group of liberals who pride themselves on their ability to create open-minded, conscious community collectively allowed the most fearful in the group to enact and enforce policy at a party that was free so that “everyone could attend, regardless of means.” This group collectively participated in the delusion that my partner and I posed a threat that was somehow greater than the one they already faced by hosting such a party in the first place. No one was capable of seeing through the collective delusion. Not even testing could quell their irrational fears.
Unfortunately, fear is not a conducive emotion when it comes to making logical decisions. It is, as Frank Herbert would write, “the mind killer.” I put forth that it is also the soul-killer.
Carl Jung once stated: “It is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer, but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
When choices are made to exclude good, healthy people and those choices are rooted in fear, the “psychic epidemic” that Carl Jung spoke of is well underway.
To the vaccinated, the world operates in black and white: there are those who care about their communities and decide to take the injection, and there are those who deny science, selfishly rejecting “the cure.” And to the vaccinated, segregation is an acceptable, appropriate response.
Well, little in life has ever been solved using black and white thinking.
What about the 50,000 NYS health care workers, once considered essential, who’ve decided against the vaccine having survived a year in the Covid trenches without it, and who are now considered disposable? Many either didn’t contract the illness, or have concluded, with the support of the data, that their natural immunity is sufficient. To the planning committee I ask this: Would the very same person who might’ve saved your life and countless others last year not be allowed at your party? Have they not earned the right to go to the movies, or see a Broadway play? What about the 2000 fire fighters who’ve quit because of the mandates? Does the same person who might’ve saved you from the wreckage of your burning apartment building not deserve a seat at your table? And what about vaccine hesitancy within Latin or Black communities, where mistrust is highest? Is ancestral trauma at the hands of the American government not a good enough “excuse” for you?
Yes, these vaccine mandates have strong racial undertones, disallowing already marginalized groups of people from participation in everyday society unless they submit unequivocally to the very government which once used black bodies for medical experimentation. This time, the government promises that “separate but equal” is for a good cause.
“You will not use these vax passports to cover up you racist ways to cover up for your discrimination,” said BLM co-founder Hawk Newsome.
Perhaps the next time a white vaccinated person says they support Black Lives Matter, they should clarify if what they really mean is that vaccinated Black Lives Matter.
When you deny a group of adults the right to earn a living as they are accustomed, or participate freely in society based on the possibility that they *might* be contagious, you are no better than a justice system which sentences a man to imprisonment based on the statistical probability that he, more so than other demographics, is a threat to society when no crime has been committed.
These mandates may be upheld by the letter of the law, but it is my most desperate hope that they do not abide by the spirit of the law.
To be crystal clear, I am not opposed to all vaccine mandates. The smallpox variolation technique had been around since the 10th century, hundreds of years before George Washington inoculated his army, and the polio vaccine had three years of testing prior to its release. Furthermore, no previous vaccine came at the cost of an untested, ongoing booster campaign with no end in sight, and data around efficacy still emerging.
In truth, I commend the vaccinated community for their goodness which seeks only to protect. They are noble in this way. But I believe their goodness, their compassion, has been weaponized against their fellow humans. The blatant derision so many feel for the deaths of the unvaccinated is evidence that they are no longer connected to their humanity and have grown out of touch with the “greater good” they are so desperate to serve.
To the vaccinated I say this: The next time the news feeds you the death of an unvaccinated person, resist the urge to blame the victim. Instead, lay your vitriol where it belongs: at the doorstep of the government.
The current administration chose to invest 20 billion dollars, if not more, in a therapy that only half the country wanted to take, and only 3 billion, a year and half into the pandemic, in antiviral treatment. The moment the NIH claimed co-ownership of the Moderna vaccine patent was the same moment the federal employee vaccine mandate became part of a business model to ensure their investment would not go to waste. In every other situation imaginable such a conflict of interest would be viewed by the American people as a red flag.
Today we are asked to ignore it for the greater good.
It’s worth noting that the federal mandate, which served to legitimize future state and city mandates, was temporarily frozen for “grave statutory and constitutional issues” by a federal appeals court, and was described by the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals as “both overinclusive (applying to employers and employees in virtually all industries and workplaces in America, with little attempt to account for the obvious differences between the risks facing, say, a security guard on a lonely night shift, and a meatpacker working shoulder to shoulder in a cramped warehouse) and underinclusive (purporting to save employees with 99 or more coworkers from a ‘grave danger’ in the workplace, while making no attempt to shield employees with 98 or fewer coworkers from the very same threat).”
Can the same not be said of all vaccine mandates, then? When we begin to consider their overinclusiveness – how they treat a black, lesbian, frontline nurse as disposable, despite having recovered from Covid twice, the discriminatory nature of these policies is revealed.
Nowhere does it say that vaccines are the ONLY or even the BEST way forward. Nor are they the cheapest option, either. It’s true, vaccines are less expensive per dose than a course of treatment. But this has little to do with the cost to produce or distribute the vaccine. Rather, it is the result of a high initial investment, as vaccines are needed by every single person, every 6-8 months. The initial investment for treatment would be much, much lower, as it, alternatively, is only needed by the portion of the population that has contracted the virus at any given time.
Lesser-developed countries might have seen lower death tolls had our government prioritized treatment, too. Owing to their smaller production runs, wealthy nations wouldn’t need as much product, allowing pharmaceutical companies to serve other, less wealthy nations.
Indeed, there is no one right answer to a problem as multifaceted as a pandemic, and to bitterly fight for a path that so many oppose is a recipe for global insanity.
If the government truly were prioritizing our health, why do we not have three viable treatment options available to everyone – including our children – for free at every corner drugstore across the nation, as we do vaccines? Why did the government choose a short-term, unsustainable, divisive solution, over a long-term, cost-effective, inclusive solution?
Yes, short term. How long before the vaccinated person is as likely to catch and transmit the virus as the unvaccinated person? Six months? Eight? If the function of segregative policy is to limit transmission, shouldn’t your passports expire that very day? Or is it the passport itself which grants immunity, and not the science? Furthermore, how many boosters are we signing up for? We barely have the data to support one. At what point do we, as a nation, pivot and demand additional solutions?
If the government truly were prioritizing our health, why do we have vaccine passports and not Covid recovery passports, as other countries do?
If the government truly were prioritizing our health, why do you not know the name Maddie De Garay, the 12 year old girl enrolled in Pfizer’s clinical trials who is now in a wheelchair while Pfizer denies her suffering altogether? Could the likelihood of neurological disease in children following vaccination truly be so common as 1 in a thousand? Why is her story being ignored by blue media, while a parade of unvaccinated deaths is sensationalized?
If the government were truly prioritizing our health, why is it that the unvaccinated control group, without whom adequate scientific studies will be impossible, are effectively being punished and shamed by the media?
And if the government truly were prioritizing our health, why has the real billion dollar question not yet been answered: Why do some people experience severe symptoms and others do not? Surely, such a mystery is not beyond our scientific reaches. If only a company could patent true, lasting wellness.
Some people may feel that my response to my best friend was too harsh, but draconian policies tend to have severe consequences. This was someone I’d asked to be my bridesman. I may have had a “legitimate medical reason” for not taking the vaccine but what about my partner? His choice is rooted in a deep mistrust of the government and would be judged much more harshly. It is my job to protect my family from prejudice, not invite it to my wedding…much less be a part of my bridal party. Once I’d determined that I could no longer welcome this person at my wedding, what kind of friends could we be to one another? Who chooses to walk backwards from the bottom of a mountain?
Where self-respect is abundant, his choice could be met with only one possible end. I know how I deserve to be treated by my friends. By my community. And this is not the way.
To the vaccinated community I say this: We are either in this together, or we are treading water alone.
The divine path unifies, it does not divide.
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