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Passing on vaccine: Foolish move or brave self-sacrifice? | READER COMMENTARY

Lesbia Ruiz (center) asks to have her vaccination in her left arm, speaking to translator Maria Aponte while Theresa Williams, a registered nurse (left) listens during a coronavirus vaccination drive for the Hispanic population at Sacred Heart Church in Highlandtown, a vaccination site partnering with Johns Hopkins Hospital. March 24, 2021. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Lesbia Ruiz (center) asks to have her vaccination in her left arm, speaking to translator Maria Aponte while Theresa Williams, a registered nurse (left) listens during a coronavirus vaccination drive for the Hispanic population at Sacred Heart Church in Highlandtown, a vaccination site partnering with Johns Hopkins Hospital. March 24, 2021. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

People who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine should be praised, not criticized, for they are doing a very brave thing. By passing up their chance to get the vaccine, they are freeing up doses for other people around the world who are desperate to get protected from a deadly disease (”China returns to strict COVID-19 restrictions as it battles a new virus outbreak,” June 9). Just think, people in Africa, India, Brazil and many other developing nations can get the shot because millions of selfless Americans have stepped aside, allowing these poor people to go first.

These courageous Americans are risking injury and death so that others, many of them people of color, may have a chance at life. As the Bible says, “Greater love than this hath no man.”

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I am not that brave. I got the vaccine at the first chance back in February. Selfishly, I did not want to get sick or have it on my conscience that I might get someone else sick. Having my lungs turned to jelly and dying a miserable, lonely death gasping for air that just won’t come wasn’t for me. I wanted to be able to enjoy life again, to go out to restaurants, concerts, club meetings, festivals and church, to travel on a plane and visit distant places again without having to worry about quarantining, social distancing and wearing a mask. The only side effect I experienced was great relief at not having to worry that some person would infect me. I was thinking only of myself and those I love who are close to me, without a care for those poor people in foreign countries.

This virus is an awful disease. Even those who don’t die from it can suffer serious injury — and not just respiratory problems. The virus causes blood clots, joint pain, fatigue and depression, sometimes even strokes and brain damage, and these symptoms don’t just go away after a week or so; they can linger for months, maybe years, and they may be permanent. Risking getting this virus is like charging a machine gun nest. What courage that must take! My hat is off to those brave people.

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Stephen McDaniel, Manchester

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