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Don’t Die Needlessly

During the years I volunteered at the Door of Hope, I knew several guests who had been kicked out of the house after being diagnosed with AIDS. All too often the family members did this—kicked out their loved ones—because their pastor told them the loved one had committed a sin. They were sinful. Someone to be shamed. Disowned. Kicked out.

The family acted this way because someone they trusted told them it was their Christian duty to shun their loved one. Sometimes the family members were heartbroken to do so. But God wanted this done, their pastor told them.

Of course, I grieved for the mistreated Door of Hope guests. But my heart also broke for the family members. To sever those ties, turn their backs, not because the love wasn’t there, but because an authority figure told them it was the right thing to do.

I’m feeling the same way about unvaccinated people dying from COVID.

In Mississippi according to the Department of Health, young people are dying of COVID. “Of 11 deaths Wednesday, [State Health Officer] Dobbs said, 10 were in unvaccinated individuals, including three people in their 30s.”

Three of ten were in their 30s. All unvaccinated.

Why would young people in their 30s be walking around unvaccinated? Maybe they’d made an appointment but got sick before they could get the shot. Or they heard the shot would make them sick and simply couldn’t afford to miss work. Maybe they were deathly afraid of needles. Or didn’t trust the vaccine process.

I can’t ignore another very real possibility: those who died had been listening to authority figures tell them COVID is not a threat. No big deal, no worse than the flu. The scientists are wrong. They’re exaggerating the numbers. Masks are stupid. Vaccines are dangerous. Don’t wear a mask and don’t get vaccinated. And particularly you, if you’re young—you don’t have to worry about COVID.

No, they didn’t. Until they died from COVID.

I don’t know.

But I know this. Whatever the reason, they didn’t have to die. Again, the State Health Officer: “As we go forward, every death will be an additional tragedy because it was almost certainly avoidable.”

Young people who could have been vaccinated are dead from COVID. And that breaks my heart.

COVID-19, Grief during COVID-19, vaccinations, young people and COVID

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