No… You Don’t Know Better Than Dr. Fauci
By Marc Medefind
As soon as I was eligible, I got my COVID-19 vaccination. After an anxious year of waiting, I felt like a kid on Christmas Day when I got my shots last winter. Having always heard that a great aunt was a victim of the 1918 Flu Epidemic, I didn’t want to extend that part of my family’s legacy. So now that I’m vaccinated, a huge weight of worry has been lifted off my shoulders.
Vaccinations have been a normal part of life for us Baby Boomers. Over the years, I’ve gotten vaccinated for polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. More recently, I’ve gotten vaccines for both pneumococcus and shingles. I remember going to the old administration building of Merced’s John Muir School to get my Sabin polio vaccine in the early 1960s. My older brother tried to scare me by telling me how big the needle was that they used. So, of course, I wasn’t terribly excited about getting vaccinated that day. When I reached the front of the line, it turned out there was no needle at all since this vaccine was taken orally — a couple drops of the vaccine were placed on a sugar cube and we let it melt on our tongues. What sweet relief!
I don’t know how researchers, scientists and epidemiologists created those vaccines. I do know that they were all successful since I have had none of the dread diseases that they were created to prevent. I wonder, though, whether we could defeat polio, measles, mumps or rubella today considering the rampant misinformation and resultant skepticism that infects too many in our oppositional society.
When I was inoculated as a kid, I of course didn’t know what was in all those vaccines. But, for that matter, I also didn’t know what was in McDonald’s “Secret Sauce” or in the secret recipes of Coca-Cola, or KFC, or in 60 percent of the products on supermarket shelves, for that matter. As a typical consumer, I have to trust that the ingredients won’t include mind-control drugs, tracking devices or Lego parts.
I take meds for a variety of “old guy concerns,” like aspirin for high blood pressure, like atorvastatin for cholesterol, like insulin for type 1 diabetes. I don’t know where all the ingredients for these drugs come from or how they are manufactured. I just know they have kept me alive and thriving for many, many years. I also know that a crackpot on the internet won’t convince me to stop taking them. Indeed, if these drugs hadn’t worked as well as they have these many years, I would have long ago shuffled off my mortal coil. I also trust my doctors, pharmacists and the FDA to give me the right information when I need it. One might call this an expression of faith rather than fear. Yes, faith in the awesome advances of science seen over the course of my lifetime.
It’s outrageous to think that so many now consider themselves as knowledgeable as Dr. Fauci because they read some internet troll’s article and are now “experts.” This is the height of hubris. Well, actually, no, it isn’t. The height of hubris is to think one knows better than Dr. Fauci and insanely thinks that ivermectin, bleach or sunlight is a better cure than a vaccine developed specifically for COVID-19. For folks who believe that, I recommend that we reinstitute the Darwin Awards.
Most important, we Americans need to regain our ability to discern credible versus non-credible sources of information. None of us wants to die or fill a hospital bed or watch as our loved ones die horrible deaths due to COVID-19. I want to go back to simply enjoying life. For me, that means traveling, going out to dinner or to movies, plays or concerts, visiting friends and relatives, and simply living my life. And, perhaps, more importantly, I want to be part of a solution for all the frontline healthcare workers and others, who are exposed daily to a surge that we, collectively, could have prevented. In order for that to happen, we need the ability to discern so that COVID-19 becomes no more than a bad memory.
Marc Medefind is a retired journalist and educator living in Merced.