COVID-19 Vaccination: Why Trust and Global Citizenship are Essential May 27, 2021 Reading Time: 5 min Share1TweetPinShare1 SharesUp to now, I haven’t really got specific when talking about COVID. Everything I’ve written has been about being resilient and what we can do to cope with the challenges of the pandemic lockdowns. So this feels a little scary, but here goes: I don’t know about you, but right now, all people seem to talk about is when/whether people have had their vaccinations, what/whether there have been any reactions and lastly, when/how much our world will open up. As you already know, we’re extremely lucky to be in the situation that we can even have these conversations – and choices. What’s interesting is that I’ve noticed how afraid many people are about getting vaccinated. And when people talk about their reasons, it boils down to a lack of trust. We don’t know what will happen. And we don’t trust the science (vaccine not tested enough/long-term) our governments (microchips in the vaccines anyone?) and/or the pharmaceutical companies (motivations/money etc). Over the last 5-10 years especially, our trust has been eroded – on so many levels: We have seen countless examples of (sometimes lethal) racism in police forces around the world – the very people we would expect to turn to if we were in trouble. It’s become clear that big tech companies like Facebook, Youtube and Google are controlling and manipulating the information they supply to us. If not for their own ends, then for the ends of people buying advertising with them… Leaders and politicians everywhere are behaving badly – from strange behaviour to lying to abuses of power right up to full despots. The internet has given anyone and everyone a platform – and no-one is fact-checking. There has been an exponential increase not only in conspiracy theories, but in the number of people who believe them. The phrase “fake news” has undermined our trust both in scientific research – and in what is reported in the media. We no longer know what – or who – to believe. There have been exposés of the terrible things done by big corporations in the name of avoiding costs, making money – and “shareholder value” – whether it’s how they treat their staff, or how they treat our planet… I could go on. But I think you get the picture. And then the pandemic hit. There has been so much information – and crucially misinformation. Every country has handled it differently. No-one has the right answers. All our leaders have been scrambling to understand and get policies in place – and many mistakes have been made. It has been a scary and confusing time. When the world goes crazy and we’re scared, we need support and contact with our communities and loved ones. Yet, that’s been the very thing we’ve been unable to do. Everything we’ve had to do to prevent the spread of COVID has isolated us from each other more: no gatherings, no hugging, wearing masks… All of these subtly make us fear each other – especially people we don’t know. So now we can’t even trust each other… Which makes it really hard for people to think about the bigger picture of humankind – when we’ve been isolated from our communities, different countries and cultures – and each other for so long. It’s no surprise that people are afraid to get vaccinated. We used to trust (our governments) more. There is no doubt that there are personal risks with getting vaccinated – from very small ones like a sore arm and minor reactions to the vaccine to the incredibly rare bloodclots. Yet, there are also personal risks in NOT getting vaccinated: being unlucky and getting a bad case of COVID. Or perhaps getting what is called “Long Covid” where people have ongoing symptoms for months and months – that may yet be permanent. So, why am I writing all this? The pandemic, combined with our increasing lack of trust in the systems – has created a huge disconnect. As a species, we have forgotten we are all humans. We have forgotten that we belong to – and have a responsibility for – each other. Not just our immediate family and friends, but to our broader communities and beyond! Getting vaccinated is not something we do just for ourselves, it’s something we do for the greater good. We do it for the human race. While personal reasons for vaccination might include: Protecting our families and ourselves, reducing the impact should we get COVID. Getting back to “normality” – going back to work, dancing, shopping, eating out, holidays, having a party! No more wearing masks! We also get vaccinated: For the elderly population, for those with underlying health issues and compromised immune systems. So children can go back to a normal school life. So local businesses can open up again, so people can return to their jobs, and so that those who bravely worked through the pandemic feel safe again. Each and every one of us can make a difference in this. What about people who don’t get vaccinated? We know that for some people, it is not safe to get vaccinated. And for those who choose not get vaccinated, I believe we must respect everyone’s decision. We MUST NOT judge people for their choices. No-one knows what’s going on in their hearts and minds, how hard it is to walk in their shoes. AND. I think we’ve forgotten that we belong to each other: we are global citizens. I personally believe we have a responsibility to each other. And that’s why I wrote this. I had my first vaccine dose last Sunday, and I’ll admit I was scared. But the three main reasons I went ahead are: I want our world, businesses, friendships, lives to begin to return to some kind of normality. I believe it is my “duty” (in a good way) as a global citizen. And lastly, I’m particularly concerned about the stronger COVID variants, both getting it and spreading it to others… Getting vaccinated is a risk. And it therefore takes courage – and trust in our systems – to make that choice. People must have faith – believing there is a benefit to getting vaccinated – or they simply won’t do it. And that faith and trust has simply been eroded. I am hoping this article inspires some people to get vaccinated (to take a personal risk for the betterment of our world). AND I also hope that we can be more understanding of the people who choose not to get vaccinated. That we give them space to think, and permission to say “No”. Because however much we might want people to get vaccinated, shame and guilt are the wrong tools. Especially for the younger generations who see the injustices and mess that has been made of our planet by those who came before… We all need to pull together now. So, if you’ve been vaccinated, you could share that with people – along with your reasoning. BUT keep it simple. Let go of expectations that you can change someone’s mind and make it about you. And let’s not bully and shame people into action, because no-one is their best self when being criticised or judged. Instead let’s love and support each other through this last stretch – and hope that we get enough people vaccinated, in enough time so that we nail the coffin on COVID… Wrap-up Fierce Kindness is a step beyond simple kindness. It’s Choosing to be kind always. It’s about applying courage when needed – whether that’s to do the right thing or set boundaries and stand up for ourselves. It’s about the extra determination and perseverance needed to achieve our goals. And it’s about discernment, learning to be think more broadly and be wiser in our dealings with ourselves – and others. A core part of the Fierce Kindness philosophy is that to be truly happy we need a Connection to 1) ourselves, 2) others and 3) something bigger than ourselves. All of these come into play as we consider the possibility of COVID vaccination. Another core part of Fierce Kindness is Contribution. Getting the vaccine IS one way you can contribute to our world, our species, right now. But remember, this contribution must be freely given… Change the world. Start with you! I would love to know what you think. Comment below. If you liked this, you may also like: For Earth Day 2021: Hope is a Muscle… The 3 As: How to be a Compassionate Presence for Yourself during Difficult Times Dr Albrecht’s 5 Types of Fears – and COVID-19! Image of Happy People from around the world on a Map by Rawpixel.com via freepik Share1TweetPinShare1 Shares 6 Comments Linda Secretan May 30, 2021 Thank you for taking a stand. You spoke with the kindness and compassion your readers have come to expect and respect. I appreciate your expressing what is in my heart as well. I am old enough to remember the scourge of poliovirus. Yes, it was an epidemic, caused by a virus, and- as is possible with long Covid – many still live with the disabling effects. Many died, like my classmate who was in the prison called an iron lung. Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, was national hero. Polio was eradicated in this county in 1979 My fervent hope is that the fear of CoVid-19 will one day be only a memory, locked away with polio, small pox, yaws,… Thank you for your courage. Reply Emma-Louise Elsey May 31, 2021 Thank-you Linda for sharing your thoughts and personal experience. And for your kind words 🙂 Em x Reply Karen Zoller June 2, 2021 Thank you for this article. What happened to ‘we’re all in this together?’ That got lost amid the politics, the fake news, social media, distrust, fear of each other, and the list can go on. We can’t solve problems when we think only of ourselves. Vaccinations have proven their effectiveness in so many diseases. Let’s use the technology we have now to get a handle on Covid and re-open our world to trust and kindness. Reply Emma-Louise Elsey June 10, 2021 Dear Karen, I agree – the idea that we’re all in this together (the “spirit of the blitz” where we all come together in difficult times) seems to have got lost. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts 🙂 Em x Reply Kristi June 8, 2021 Couldn’t agree MORE with all that you wrote Emma-Louise, and Linda’s and Karen’s comments. Thanks for all your fantastic work!! Reply Emma-Louise Elsey June 8, 2021 Dear Kristi, Thank-you so much for taking the time to comment 🙂 And your kinds words. Em xxx Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.