Dying to Be Right: Covid, Anti-Vaxxers, and Cognitive Dissonance

Third Thoughts
10 min readSep 29, 2021

“I just always thought it’s never going to happen to us,” Christina Lowe told NBC 7 News in San Diego earlier this month. “We thought the vaccine was rushed. We thought it was more about money and power than about Americans and protecting the people… We honestly thought that COVID was mostly political… And then it did happen to us, and then you start playing the regret game.”

On August 29th, Lowe lost her 38 year old husband Mikel to the coronavirus. She recounts how before his death, Mikel urged her to get the vaccine and promised to get it himself if he’d survive. At the same time she was receiving her injection, Lowe says that her husband was coding while in medical care. The couple, who have 5 and 6 year old boys, was forced to say goodbye over FaceTime while Mikel was unconscious. After his passing, Lowe has become a vaccine advocate, warning others against politicizing the virus and ignoring the risk.

Stories like the above have become increasingly common since the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines became widely available. Since December, 55.3% of the US population has been fully vaccinated. Yet even as that number continues to climb, a disturbing trend has emerged in those who are declining to vaccinate. A poll conducted by FiveThirtyEight in July shows that while the group of those who would rather “wait and see” on vaccination has gone down, the approximately 14% of respondents who have said they will “definitely not” get the vaccine has remained relatively stable over time.

Hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid are now largely limited to the unvaccinated. As Carla K. Johnson and Mike Stobbe report in an article for the Associated Press:

An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%.

And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.

Other studies have shown that the hospitalization rate for unvaccinated patients is several times that of vaccinated patients, sometimes as much as 30 times more…

Third Thoughts

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