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Vaccine empathy Tue, Feb 15, 2022
I have a friend who is an anti-vaxxer.  She didn't vaccinate her kids for the standard preventable childhood illnesses (measles, mumps, etc.) with the rationale that they would generate their own immunity (false) and that the vaccines had worse side effects than the diseases (also false).  Regrettably or not, she applied the same logic to the COVID-19 vaccine and didn't get herself or her family vaccinated.  Then she and her husband got sick with COVID.  It quickly turned into a pretty bad infection requiring time in the hospital.  After some tense moments, she changed her tune on vaccinations (the COVID one anyway) and is apparently getting vaccinated as soon as possible. 

People tend to go through three phases when confronted with new ideas: 
  1. It's a lie.
  2. It may not be a lie, but it's an exaggeration.
  3. It may not be an exaggeration, but it's not my problem.
This might be a stretch, but I think it all boils down to empathy.  Empathy is typically about sharing another person's feelings, but I think in this case it's more about acknowledging the validity of a point of view that's unfamiliar or uncomfortable.  It's the same process people went through (hopefully long ago) with interracial marriage, or possibly more recently with gay marriage, or abortion, or trans people.  It starts out as a foreign idea that must be repelled and criticized, but when it suddenly affects a person directly, the tone changes. 

I'm absolutely not an expert on this, and I certainly don't know the solution.  Also, I'm probably the most un-empathetic person on earth.  But it's just something I've noticed.