Archived Opinion

Blaming unvaccinated is somewhat misplaced

To the Editor:

In the Sept. 1 opinion piece titled, “Maskless, unvaccinated bear a responsibility,” Norman Hoffman states that the unvaccinated “... are accountable for the continuation of the pandemic and its restrictions ... they are the reason I now still need to protect myself from them by wearing a mask.” I agree that the maskless and unvaccinated bear a responsibility for the continuation of the pandemic, but I must disagree that they are “the reason” that Norman (and others who care) must continue to wear masks.

To me, one of the saddest things to emerge from this pandemic is the divisions that have formed: first the masked vs. the unmasked, and now the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated. It is simpler to claim a side, believe your side is right, and then allow blame, resentment and disgust to build against the other side, than to look at all of the nuances of the situation, of which there are many — too many to expound upon in one letter to the editor. 

As an as-yet-unvaccinated person who respected the original mask mandate, who has taken up the mask once again, and who has done my part to socially distance throughout the pandemic, I am dismayed by being lumped in with all of the other unvaccinated individuals, as many of the people on “Team Vaccinated” are now doing. 

More importantly, I am deeply disappointed in the CDC for lifting the mask mandate for the vaccinated in mid-May, foolishly gambling that this would encourage the as-yet-unvaccinated to get vaccinated, and instead inspiring almost everyone to take off their masks and party like the pandemic was over, even while the Delta variant was raging in India, soon to arrive here (if it hadn’t already). 

In late July, the CDC changed its guidelines to recommending that vaccinated people also wear masks inside again. A study showed that the vaccinated and unvaccinated were carrying the same amount of Delta in their noses, meaning that the unmasked, undistanced and vaccinated were spreading the Delta variant as much as the unmasked, undistanced and unvaccinated. But hardly anyone started wearing masks again, and the focus of the CDC and the vaccinated was instead on getting more people vaccinated, rather than on everyone masking up and distancing again. If the mask mandate had not been prematurely lifted, we might not be in the surge that we are in now.

But even if everyone in the U.S. had continued wearing masks and distancing as much as possible, and even if everyone in the U.S. who is eligible for the vaccine had gone through with it by now, there is still the issue that the world is a majority of poorer countries who have had little to no access to the vaccine, and seemingly will remain without enough access for far too long. This global pandemic points to much greater social issues than the carelessness of the unvaccinated who refuse to wear a mask, and the narrow-mindedness of the unmasked vaccinated who think they are not also spreading the virus. We as one of the wealthy nations of the world, who are able to secure enough vaccine doses for all of our people, and even booster shots coming soon, bear a responsibility for the spread of the virus among those who have little to no access due to the inappropriate distribution of wealth among nations — a result of hundreds of years of exploitation by the now monetarily rich nations of the world over the resource-rich but monetarily poor nations. To reduce the cause of the continuation of the pandemic to the behaviors of the unmasked and unvaccinated is short-sighted indeed.  

Rachel Unger

Bryson City 

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13 comments

  • Well Biden has opened all borders without any health checks, vaccinations (all of them) so there's that. Fauci and all of his redacted emails to other world leaders so lies everywhere in this administration and there is no transparency. We are being lied to and have been for a very long time by our government and everyone is being censored and shut down for free speech. They want to pit us against each other.

    posted by Karen Volk

    Sunday, 10/03/2021

  • Well Biden has opened all borders without any health checks, vaccinations (all of them) so there's that. Fauci and all of his redacted emails to other world leaders so lies everywhere in this administration and there is no transparency. We are being lied to and have been for a very long time by our government and everyone is being censored and shut down for free speech. They want to pit us against each other.

    posted by Karen

    Sunday, 10/03/2021

  • The media are hard at work weaving a web of confusion, misinformation, and conspiracy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

    posted by Justin

    Sunday, 10/03/2021

  • Susan Grimm, you really believe every single person in America had gotten the polio vaccine. Everyone? And that's the reason polio was vanquished? As that senile moron in the White House would say, come on man? You are misguided, you are fool and you are stupid.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Sunday, 10/03/2021

  • Susan Grimm, you really believe every single person in America had gotten the polio vaccine. Everyone? And that's the reason polio was vanquished? As that senile moron in the White House would say, come on man? You are misguided, you are fool and you are stupid.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Sunday, 10/03/2021

  • The Polio virus was not able to mutate because everyone got vaccinated! Vaccines do not cause variants; variants emerge when a virus is able to keep spreading, like among unvaccinated people. If you get your annual flu shot, the vaccine is adjusted every year to try to keep up with variations in the flu virus. I expect COVID vaccines will be similar and we may require yearly vaccinations. Whatever it takes to stay healthy, and thank goodness for the scientists who try to figure it out!

    posted by Susan Grimm

    Saturday, 10/02/2021

  • If you're not vaccinated, you're an idiot AND part of the problem. Congrats!

    posted by eigjiwjgie

    Saturday, 10/02/2021

  • Lets place blame where it belongs. Its all Communist China's fault along with the Fauci gangsters that financed the maniacal gain of function research.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Saturday, 10/02/2021

  • The 'quartermaster' comment is completely untrue and a great disservice to the public. Where in the world did this absurd statement come from. The FDA has NEVER "admitted" that more people die from the vaccine than from Covid...-you mean over 600,000 people have died from the vaccine??? Either you are terribly misinformed or have a very dangerous politicized agenda. Also, in the Mass. outbreak- yes many vaccinated folks got Delta- but only 1.3% were hospitalized and NO ONE died in this group. The vaccine works to prevent serious disease and death. Ms. Unger's comment about the neglect of the poorer countries, however, is sadly very correct.

    posted by stephen wall MD

    Friday, 10/01/2021

  • To Stephen Wall, MD.... A real vaccine like the Polio vaccine kills the virus. The Polio virus was never allowed to mutate like these current Covid vaccines allow for. A virus is a living organism and like any living organism tries to survive and therefore mutates as a survival mechanism. You don't have to be a certified virologist to understand that concept Mr. Stephen Wall, MD. The Covid vaccines are causing the Covid virus to mutate and it will continue to mutate.

    posted by Arthur S.

    Friday, 10/01/2021

  • The 'quartermaster' comment is completely untrue and a great disservice to the public. Where in the world did this absurd statement come from. The FDA has NEVER "admitted" that more people die from the vaccine than from Covid...-you mean over 600,000 people have died from the vaccine??? Either you are terribly misinformed or have a very dangerous politicized agenda. Also, in the Mass. outbreak- yes many vaccinated folks got Delta- but only 1.3% were hospitalized and NO ONE died in this group. The vaccine works to prevent serious disease and death. Ms. Unger's comment about the neglect of the poorer countries, however, is sadly very correct.

    posted by stephen wall MD

    Friday, 10/01/2021

  • Masks are not effective in preventing the spread of disease. The vaccines are more dangerous than simply taking your chances with the bug. The FDA has admitted that 2 people are dying for every one saved by the vaccines. The director of CDC has ignored this fact and is pushing for endless boosters.

    So masking and vaccines don't work to stem the spread of the disease. The delta variant is a creation of the vaccines and, increasingly, new cases are among the vaccinated, and many are dying from it. Listen to the idiots running things at your own peril.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Thursday, 09/30/2021

  • Here is a link to the study that I refer to in this opinion.

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7031e2.htm?s_cid=mm7031e2_w

    posted by Rachel Unger

    Wednesday, 09/29/2021

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