By Abdul Hakim-Shabazz
For The Republic
Although there are very few things that surprise me, I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by some of the reactions on social media lately that I had been shot — booster shot, that is.
I received my booster shot recently at Meijer, and as I was getting my shot, I decided to take a selfie and post it on social media. I did the same thing back in March when I got my original shot.
I got the shot for several reasons.
First and foremost, with COVID-19 variants running crazy, I wanted to make sure that if I did contract the coronavirus, I likely would not end up in an intensive care unit. As of this past weekend, according to the Indiana Department of Public Health, there were nearly 16,000 new coronavirus cases. Of the 15,926 positive cases reported Friday, Jan. 14, 15,896 were confirmed the prior Thursday. There were also 97 more deaths reported, bringing the state’s total since the pandemic began to 19,491.
In addition, Indiana state set a new record for hospitalizations. According to WTHR, as of this Thursday, Jan. 13, there were 3,519 patients being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals around the state. It’s the first time since March 2020 that the number has exceeded 3,500.
And as of Jan. 14, the state had 9.2% of its ICU beds available. Nearly 38% of all the ICU beds in use around the state were occupied by COVID-19 patients. The state reported 4,557 newly fully vaccinated Hoosiers on Jan. 14, bringing the total to 3,599,575. I would have likely been 4,558.
Also, throw in the fact that my teaching jobs required me to have a booster shot, and even more importantly, my father passed away in 2020 due to complications stemming from COVID-19; you can see I didn’t need much motivation to get my booster.
What amazed me, though, was the reaction from the anti-COVID-vaccination crowd.
By posting the picture of myself getting my booster shot, I was accused of virtue signaling, the popular modern habit of indicating that one has virtue merely by expressing disgust or favor for certain political ideas or cultural happenings. So by posting my photo of me getting a shot, I was allegedly showing how virtuous I was, and I was looking down on those who hadn’t been vaccinated.
I was also accused of being “sheeple” because I got the shot. I was filling my body with toxins. Or my personal favorite, the amount of time it took for me to get my booster shot, I could have had a heart attack. I have no idea what that means, but it seemed worth repeating.
When it comes to COVD vaccinations, I subscribe to the adage of “my body, my choice.” In other words, you have the right to exercise your choice and get vaccinated or not. Now please note, with those choices also come consequences. And if your employer makes having a shot a requirement, then to me, the options are pretty straightforward: you get the shot or get another job, which in a universe of 3% unemployment should not be too hard to find. And forgive me, but when it comes to “religious exemptions,” I don’t recall God telling Moses when he issued the Ten Commandments that thou shall not be vaccinated against COVID.
So, like I said, you have the choice to get vaccinated/immunized from COVID-19. And if you decide not to, I promise I won’t look down on you. Sorry, yes, I will look down on you (physically) as I am visiting you in the ICU ward, and you are in a bed taking up space from someone else who could have used it because you wouldn’t take 20 minutes out of your day and get shot.
Adbul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets, including The Statehouse File, where this article previously appeared. He can be reached at [email protected] Send comments to [email protected]