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Let's Revisit: Are Masks (and Vaccines) Only Symbols Anymore?

Almost nine months ago I wrote a post entitled "Mask-Up: Symbols Vs. Idols". At the time I reflected on how the mask was a symbol of taking the virus seriously. I also sought to contemplate how the mask could be made into an idol (by me). However, perhaps I should have asked myself more how it broadly had been made a symbol or an idol. Now with passage of these nine month, I realize that masks, and now vaccines too, have taken on more of a nature of idolization rather than symbolization. In this post, I will explore the possibility that masks and vaccines (more recently) have passed from being symbols to being idols.

While some have become vocal about being tired of masks, not even I have fully taken off the mask. Some still act as if the mask symbolizes how much someone treats the virus as serious. Now, as much as some have brought up that there has been studies about how ineffective masks are, masks are still mandated in many place. While mask mandates are raised, this does not mean that masks will actually be taken off. For the mask has moved beyond symbolism and has become an idol.

Part of the reason I think the mask has become an idol. some still hold that even after getting a Covid-19 Vaccine people should still wear masks. This is said to be because it is still as way to keep others safe. Now if this is true then is the vaccine effective?

From this though even more so not allowing people to not wear masks with no vaccine creates a division between people. It reaffirms those who have championed masks from the beginning. It makes anyone who do not want to wear mask upon mandates being raised still seem uncaring towards others. It ignores also that some may have valid reasons for conscientiously objecting to taking the vaccine. This then not only make an idol of masks but also makes an idol out of the vaccine.

The vaccine though a great medical feat, we must also be aware that it was rushed to the market. This does not mean that it is not effective. It may very be extremely effective. Yet many who have had negative side effects. Some have actually died. According to the CDC, between December 14, 2020 and May 21, 2021, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) reported 4,863 deaths. Now that may seem insignificant as over 200,000 doses had been given out at that time. However, VAERS does not receive as many reports as people may believe. A 2010 study of this database revealed "fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse reactions are reported" using VAERS. Part of this issue could be that it is a voluntary reporting system and some may simply not know about it. Now of course than taking this into account one can assume death rates from the COVID-19 vaccine are much higher than reported. Yet, we can never know how many people truly died of the vaccine This is taking into account also not all adverse deaths can linked directly to the vaccine.

Do not think that I am anti-vax in any way. I think vaccines are a medical advancement that God has allowed so we do not have live in fear of catching deadly diseases. However, as the one for Covid-19 was permitted under Emergency Use Authorization it has not fully gone through the process necessary to be FDA approved. Each person has the free will to get it or not. Yet, it has become as sort of idol that you must take in order to show that once again (and in many ways to a greater degree than masks) take the virus seriously. Getting the vaccine should not be the standard for getting back to normal. Forcing people to show proof of vaccine to fly or do other activities is an invasion of privacy as this is sensitive information. I am saying this as a college student who has had to provide receipts for vaccination to my place of learning. Requiring a "vaccine passport" creates a society which anyone who has objections to a vaccine of any kind turns into a villain who wishes death on others.

One more thing before I go. One reason I do not want to get the vaccine is I know if I get COVID I am much less likely to die from it then would my grandmother who lives with me. I also seen family members and friends in my age bracket (under 30) contract Covid and recover from in. These individuals also only had mild symptoms. The vaccine is a tool, a helpful tool, but a tool none the less. I want to makes sure I order it properly in my mind. I should not myself put it before God the creator who also created my immune system. I would hope that those at high risk would consider getting it, but even they have the right to know what could happen as a result. Overall, both masks and vaccines should not be used to make others feel like they care nothing for others, but that they are tools that potentially help fight the virus.

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