OPINION | I won't ask you to get vaccinated, but as numbers become names consider this

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When Covid numbers become names of friends and family...
When Covid numbers become names of friends and family...

After nearly 18 months of Covid-19 lockdown I've come to understand why the impala grazes so peacefully on the African plain, while the lion stalks nearby.  

It's because one can only live with fear for so long, before deciding - making the choice - to just take your chances out there. 

An impala who only watches for danger would soon die of starvation and exhaustion. Rather have a graze and take a nap and let fate decide if today you're a lion's lunch. 

As the pandemic drags on I admit I am tired. Earlier this year I wrote about how I was still afraid, and since then my fears have come true as closer friends and immediate family fell victim to the virus. 

Also read: A year ago I was scared. I admit it now

But living with fear is hard work, and I am tired now.

I miss relaxed family gatherings, laughing with my friends, meeting with my colleagues at work. I'm even starting to think that a kid's birthday party sounds like a fun morning out (yes, it's that bad). 

So I'm thankful for the Covid-19 vaccine, which offers a shot at a more normal way of life.

I understand vaccine hesitation too though. I was also nervous, I also wondered if it was safe. But I knew I was going to get in line the day I heard that my age group could finally register. I was flooded with such an overwhelming sense of relief - that's when I knew I would brace myself and get it done. 

The thing is, I suffer from life-long trypanophobia, the irrational and extreme fear or aversion needles. So it took a lot for me to queue that day, to walk up to the nurse and sit in that chair. In my mind I was screaming, I won't lie. 

I didn't leave there feeling better either, I didn't feel proud, or victorious. I only felt sad.

I was sad that my young children don't know a world without disaster, whether it's drought or load shedding or this pandemic. 

Also read: "...everything I thought I knew about being a mom went out the window" 

But I am thankful that we can turn this thing around, that with this vaccine we can start to look towards a return to a properly relaxed gathering where every interaction isn't judged by how close you got to another person and whether or not you trust them to reveal that they've been coughing lately. 

I did it to protect myself. As a mother I want to be here to see my kids grow up, and protecting myself from illness is an important part of that.

I also did it to be a better example to my children. How do I explain to them that they were vaccinated as babies, that I made this decision for them, but that I wouldn't do it for myself? That as an adult I'm choosing not to protect myself, them and my family? That as an adult it's ok to put your own opinions ahead of medical science and to jeopardise the lives of others? 

And I did it to protect my parents, my in-laws, my immuno-compromised friends who have lived careful, constrained lives for so long now. They deserve to be able to safely move about in society again.  

I didn't do it because the government told me to. It's not about civil obedience, it's not about government control. It's about giving everyone a chance to live their full lives, whether they have diabetes, or a heart condition, or are over 70.

Vulnerable people should be protected - isn't this a mark of our humanity? 

Must see: Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here 

As editor of Parent24 I'm no stranger to the immunisation debate so I wasn't that surprised when adults were suspicious of this vaccine, but I am surprised at the high number of people who believe the misinformation, which has been thoroughly debunked.

Seemingly intelligent, educated adults who start ranting about the mark of the beast, Bill Gates and microchips, global conspiracies they uncovered on YouTube... I am honestly speechless.   

But as those daily Covid infection and mortality numbers start to become the names of friends and family, if you're choosing not to be vaccinated I suggest you think also about why vaccines exist, what they've done for humanity in the past and why you think those around you don't deserve to live.  

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