Folks Are Comparing Vaccination Status To Chronic Disease And Obesity, And I Have THOUGHTS

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 
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I’m not going to lie to you. I’m fresh out of patience for staunch anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. If you have spent the last year and a half spreading some nonsense about COVID or actively trying to convince people not to take the vaccine, I’m highly unconcerned about your feelings at this point. The science is clearly showing that the slight risk of vaccine complications pales in comparison to the huge risk of COVID complications. It has also shown us that the vast majority of people dying in hospitals from COVID right now have the same vaccination status: Unvaccinated.

Science has long proven that masks help reduce disease transmission, and pose no health risk whatsoever to otherwise healthy people. Anyone who says literally anything else or minimizes those facts is wrong. Period. Conspiracy theories and opinions are not facts, and your anti-science bullshit has literally killed people. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I do have compassion for people who have legitimate medical anxiety or fears due to previous medical trauma. I can understand why for some people, getting the COVID vaccine feels complicated and emotional. Not taking the vaccine and actively campaigning against it are two very different things. I understand that.

There will always be people who legitimately cannot be vaccinated, which is why there should not be any eligible people who just refuse to be vaccinated.

Infuriatingly, greedy politicians and anti-science wingnuts turned vaccine status into a political statement. This clusterfuck could have been avoided, but here we are. It’s too late. People are still dying when a couple tiny needle pricks could have allowed them to live.

Unfortunately, regardless of why someone isn’t vaccinated, the outcome is exactly the same: Anyone who has not taken the vaccine is at a much higher risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death should they contract COVID-19. The highly-contagious Delta variant has made it even more likely that an unvaccinated person will contract the virus, and more cases mean more serious cases. Life-threatening cases. Deadly cases.

All over the country, hospitals are overrun with COVID patients. ICUs are running out of room. Healthcare workers are struggling to keep up. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the U.S., and the vast majority of the patients in need of emergent care are unvaccinated. And now veterans with treatable conditions are dying because there is no room to treat them.

With the situation growing more and more dire, some people have raised an interesting question: Should doctors start considering vaccination status when deciding who gets an ICU bed?

Honestly, I don’t even want to touch that question. I just don’t know. Is it ethical to withhold care based on vaccination status? If it was my unvaccinated loved one, wouldn’t I want them in an ICU bed as soon as they need one?

The entire concept of prioritizing care based on likelihood of survival is a horrible reality— remember Italy? — and is precisely why we need to increase vaccination rates and keep our hospitals from suffering this level of overwhelm any longer.

Because a certain faction of humanity always has to prove that there is dumpster juice running through their garbage veins, some people have now begun to compare vaccination status to other medical and body-related conditions. I’ve seen people comparing unvaxxed COVID patients to people with smoking-related lung cancer, heart damage caused by drug use, alcohol-related liver disease, and, of course, obesity. They say that if people with conditions that they “brought upon themselves” are still entitled to medical care, then unvaccinated people should be, too.

Oh, sweet mercy. I have THOUGHTS, mostly about that obesity bit. It’s such a stupid comparison.

First of all–and it’s really very disappointing that I have to point this out—obesity is not contagious.

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None of their stupid little “gotcha” conditions are contagious, actually. Fat people don’t make YOU fat just by being in your presence. Lung cancer is also not contagious, nor is heart damage caused by drug use. Cirrhosis isn’t going to jump into your liver if a guy with liver damage sits next to you at the movies. Any non-contagious medical condition that the anti-vaxx crowd is trying to use to justify their shitty behavior is a stupid, useless comparison.

Secondly, high body weight alone is not an illness, nor are fat people a danger to the structure of our hospital systems.

There are millions of people who live in bodies large enough to be considered clinically obese, yet pre-pandemic there was never a news story warning the rest of the country that there were no ICU beds available because all the fatties were on all the ventilators. That is not a thing. Fat people are not a danger to anyone by way of existing.

But it can be a challenge for fat people to get adequate medical care even in the best of circumstances, so if you think nobody has received sub-par COVID care based on their body size, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Most medical professionals are literal pandemic heroes, but anti-fat bias in the medical community is well-documented, and it’s impossible that is has not crept into pandemic decision-making sometimes, too.

Lastly, there is no shot or two-shot series that can make a person thin enough to escape judgment should they need medical care.

When it comes to body size, there is not quick, simple, effortless way to change it. There is no solution to changing your body size that takes almost no time, is free and has been scientifically proven to reduce a fat person’s chance of future serious illness. That doesn’t exist. (Also, pick up a book once in a while because health at every size DOES exist, but that’s another story.)

For COVID, we have several vaccines available, including one with full FDA approval. A couple quick injections are all it takes. It’s so simple to drastically reduce your risk of COVID-related hospitalization and death that it literally shouldn’t even be a decision. Everyone who is eligible and medically able should be vaccinated by now. We have had shots available for many months.

That’s why people are raising the question about using vaccination status to determine who gets a bed first.

Not because everyone doesn’t deserve the same chance to be saved, but because by the time a COVID patient needs a ventilator, it is more likely that they will die than live. There’s a vaccine available that reduces the chances of ever getting to that point. Hospitals are overrun with people who purposefully failed to protect themselves. How can anyone expect that the thought of prioritizing vaccinated patients or de-prioritizing unvaccinated COVID patients wouldn’t at least cross someone’s mind?

I don’t know how I feel about considering vaccination status when choosing who gets the most immediate medical care for serious COVID illness, but I do know that I don’t blame anyone who suggests the idea.

If there’s one bed and two patients who need it, someone is going to have to choose who gets the care first. (Do you understand that? When hospitals can’t handle the influx of critical patients, a living, breathing human being has to decide who gets a shot at living and who just dies. They have to live with the weight of that. How dare anti-vaxxers act like they don’t have an obligation to do their part to reduce that kind of pain and suffering.)

If anti-vaxxers don’t want to see hospitals making decisions based on vaccination status, and also don’t want to die if they get COVID, their best shot is to GET VACCINATED, not to count on an already strained hospital system to hold a bed for them when the virus they “aren’t afraid of” threatens to end their lives. Demonizing other people’s medical conditions and body size won’t make the choice to remain unvaccinated any less irresponsible. The comparison simply isn’t there.

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