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Request to 18-30-year-olds who are vaccine hesitant

Dear Editor,
Life should be fun, shouldn’t it? Especially for the young, the unencumbered, the free, the untethered. But what kind of world do you want to be free in? One without restrictions, perhaps, one without fear of dangerous illnesses lurking in every gathering, every busy airport, every crowded shopping mall, every cinema, theatre, concert venue, nightclub?

This COVID era must have made you feel so confined, so restricted, so unfairly held back in your rightful pursuit of happiness, in your desire to travel, in your quest for adventure, for a social life. It must have made you resentful that governments and health authorities are treating everyone like little kids and grounding them, keeping them shut up at home just when the world should be their oyster, their playground.

It must have made you want to fight back in any small way you can, understandably. One of the ways to fight back against authoritarianism has been to refuse things that these governments and health authorities suggest, such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, wearing a mask, quarantining, and taking the vaccine.

But, just like kids refusing to eat to try to punish their parents (and instead hurting themselves the most), this is not the time for short-term responses. This is the time to think just a little bit ahead and imagine a COVID-free world in which you can do anything you want to, anytime, anywhere, for the rest of your life, no restrictions, no limitations.

Every single 18–30-year-old who refuses the vaccine gives the virus yet another chance to mutate into a stronger variant. Obviously, in poorer countries in Africa, Asia and South America, mutations are evolving almost unchecked. But do you want them to thrive in every country of the world, in your own country, in your own town, in your own home, in your own body? No, probably not.

However strong you think your immune system or your luck is, you are maybe wondering if you could be the one that gets hit badly by COVID or, if you have already survived a dose or two of it, perhaps you’ve worried that another dose or a different variant might finish off your immune system – and your luck – altogether.

So, let’s assume you don’t want mutations creating new variants in your own environment. It is then a priority for you and for everyone around you to help create a strong barrier to stop all mutations. And the only way to do this is to present a strong, united front and get rid of every gap in our defences against COVID.
Every refusal to have the jab allows another chink in our armour, another gap in our defensive wall, an opportunity for strong mutations to become destructive variants. And, who knows, if we continue to allow mutations by turning down the vaccine and letting more and more people get COVID, giving it so many chances to prosper, perhaps a variant will emerge that the vaccine won’t be able to protect anyone against, however young, however strong, however healthy. Imagine that, a variant that was so strong that even if you had the jab, it wouldn’t protect you or those around you.

Then, instead of a future of freedoms, it will be one of sickness and loss, constant lockdowns, stricter restrictions, more feeling imprisoned and hard done by.

Right now is a turning point: it could be the end of COVID if we all get vaxxed or it could be the beginning of a lifetime encumbered with COVID variants and restrictions if we don’t all get vaxxed.

Think of yourself, think of your friends, think of your family and think of how you want to design your future and please get double vaxxed. When asked in later life ‘what did you do to help conquer COVID?’ you will at least be able to say ‘Even though I had my doubts, I did my bit and took the vaccine’. Whatever age, whatever politics, whatever religion, whatever beliefs, whatever culture, we’re all on the same side here – Humanity Versus the Virus and we can’t let it win. 

Louise Hudson