The people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 are called sheep. The people not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 are called anti-vaxxers.

Here’s an idea: quit with the rhetoric — on both sides.

It’s likely that neither statement in the first sentence of this piece is entirely true. Are there some individuals getting vaccinated who are doing it simply because they always do what they are told? Perhaps. Are there some who aren’t getting the vaccine who are full-on anti-vaxxers who have never gotten a shot in their life? Perhaps.

But labeling the entire group on one side or the other as a sheep, anti-vaxxer, or any other of your favorite terms does not help. It’s, in fact, dangerous and just further widens the divide in this already split nation.

Many people who have gotten the vaccine, in fact, are not sheep. They are people who have looked at the science behind the vaccine or behind mRNA data from the last decade or so and concluded it was the best option for them.

For the older demographic of the population, it makes a lot of sense to take the jab. After all, in Oregon, COVID-19 pre-vaccine had a mortality rate of more than 20% in confirmed cases among those 80 and older.

With the vaccine in place, the overall mortality rate in that group has dropped to less than 17%. Even in instances of a breakthrough case, where individuals get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, the mortality rate in those 80 and above is just over 6%.

For the immunocompromised, those who want that layer of protection, or those who have talked to their doctor and believe it’s the right move for them, it also makes sense.

They should not be chided and called sheep for doing so.

But in the same breath, neither should those who have not yet received the vaccine. They have concerns about vaccine side effects (including long term), and may want to research it more to see if those concerns can be eased. Perhaps they are on the fence and may get it in the coming weeks, and believe they have the freedom to make that decision in their time. Perhaps they are younger, and see a survival rate in their age range of 99.966% (as it currently stands for those 20-29 in Oregon) and figure they will be fine.

If you want to encourage those in that group to receive the shot, do so, but don’t bash them over the head with terms like anti-vaxxer that likely are not true, especially of those who are on the fence.

We’ve held, and continue to hold, the position of encouraging you to do your research, talk to a doctor, pray if you need to, and then make a decision that is best for you as it pertains to the vaccine.

We will get through this pandemic, but not as country united if the rhetoric and blame game continues.

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