McFeely: Unvaxxed mostly deserve scorn

I know, I know. We are not supposed to insult these people for their decision to not get vaccinated. We are supposed to understand their position. But should we be empathetic toward those with no good reason for not getting vaxxed?

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Forum New Service columnist Mike McFeely

MOORHEAD -- Now that the delta variant of COVID-19 is making its way through large swaths of unvaccinated America, unnecessarily extending our long national pandemic nightmare, we are hearing stories of gravely ill folks begging doctors for the jab. To which doctors are saying, "Sorry, it's too late."

Some of these patients survive, some don't, and the doctors are left to tell heartbreaking stories of families who've lost loved ones because, well, because some people are too stubborn, ignorant or dumb to get vaccinated.

I know, I know. We are not supposed to insult these people for their decision to not get vaccinated. We are supposed to try to understand their concerns and frustrations, to have empathy for their positions. Most are supporters of Donald Trump and to call their decision-making deplorable is worse than insulting their grandmother.

So we are supposed to say what?

"Yes, Bob, I understand your concern that Joe Biden might be inserting a microchip in your arm because he wants to track you. That's a legitimate position and I fully respect it."


"Jim, you are completely right to say that nobody's going to tell you what to do, dammit, because that's tyranny and that's what led to Hitler killing 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. Do I have that right? Is that what you said? Anyway, I support your opinion as 100% valid."

That deserves empathy and understanding?

No thanks.

What it deserves is scorn.

Yes, there are groups of unvaccinated people who deserve our support. They are limited to those who can't for health reasons take the vaccine and children not yet eligible to receive it. The COVID vaccines have been available long enough and in enough places that anybody who wants the shots can get them.

Those choosing to not get jabbed deserve no sympathy. They made a decision, no matter how nonsensical, so they must live with the consequences of that decision. There is real information about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines easily available. If a person chooses to ignore that information, let the chips fall where they may.

Harsh, you say? Well, no.

It is 17 months since the beginning of the pandemic, when the nation and economy were turned upside down. We know more about the virus than we did then, we have vaccines we know are safe. We know that getting vaccinated slows the spread of the virus and the danger of it. That is irrefutable.


As has been reported, COVID-19 has become "a pandemic of the unvaccinated." It is those willfully ignoring science for selfish, often illogical reasons who are holding us back and needlessly endangering the lives and well-being of others.

Yet we're supposed to be sympathetic toward those who've chosen to make their medical decisions based on what they saw on Fox News or read about on Facebook?

COVID has always been a public health crisis, not a test of individual liberties. Masks and vaccines are meant to protect others as much as ourselves. Those choosing to endanger others deserve scorn and little else.

Opinion by Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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