Fallout After COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal. “They called us heroes before this mandate. Now they call us murderers.”
Despite Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, many stand opposed, and not without some consequences. One Washington firefighter explains why he pushes for “medical freedom” and wants to #StoptheMandate.
I do a doubletake when I see the social media post: “I Stand For Medical Freedom” and “#StopTheMandate”. This post is from a firefighter in Washington State—and he happens to be a dear, family friend. He’s a front-line worker who’s opposed to the vaccine. How is this even possible?
I want to know what’s behind his thinking. What, if anything, will he share with me about his perspective? How can I approach him online without putting him on the defensive or (worse yet) straining our relationship?
I quickly read up on Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee’s August 9 announcement of a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers (and others) by October 18, as well as Washington’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, who adds: “State employees, health care and long-term care workers are extremely pivotal in the fight against COVID-19, and we hope these steps will further our goal of getting as many people vaccinated.” Umair continued, “We should all be concerned with the increases of COVID-19 cases in our state and we know that vaccines are our best tool to end this pandemic.”
And then, sitting at my laptop, I string words together to send my friend’s way, reminding myself that, as gobsmacked as I am, chances are he’s just as perplexed by people like me who eagerly await their 3rd COVID shot. I remind myself to avoid “you” statements, to keep it about me…and to proceed with curiosity and compassion. Finally, after much hand wringing, I hit send.
My Initial Contact
I begin by explaining that several people I love, including family and friends, are immune-compromised. I explained that if they need care and have to come into contact with someone who isn’t vaccinated, their risk of severe illness and/or death skyrockets. I explain that I’ve recently lost family…