They call it COVID rage.

Those of us who got vaccinated are furious at those who haven’t. Our rage in Idaho is worse because we have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation. We have an extremist wing of the Idaho Republican Party, headed by Janice McGeachin, that is fighting masks, vaccination mandates and reality.

Jackie Stephens

Jackie Stephens

Recently, some areas started rationing care because of our COVID resurgence. Health care providers take an oath to provide equal care regardless of vaccination status. But if someone’s family member dies for lack of a bed that was occupied by a COVID-infected anti-vaxxer then I suspect they’ll understand COVID rage better than anybody.

When my friends and I gather for coffee and conversation, our anger becomes as transmissible as the Delta variant. We rage about those we feel are responsible for the resurgence of COVID and the mounting deaths, the overrun hospitals, the disrupted schools and the continuation of chaos in our lives.

I tried to be understanding of the hesitant. But not a single death has been definitively linked to the vaccine while over 650,000 have died from COVID. Data shows that COVID vaccines are among the safest of all the vaccines we routinely take, and we’ve taken vaccines most of our lives. It’s long past time for everybody to roll up their sleeves.

I beg pardon to those sensible, civic-minded Republicans who’ve been vaccinated. I know many of you have. But the anti-vaxxers with their heels in the mud are almost 100% far-right wingers who’re having their emotions manipulated by party extremists and FOX news commentators.

These folks and their leaders deserve to be shamed even though they appear to have no shame. They are remorseless at the deaths they have caused. They are remorseless about the monumental medical expenses being incurred. They are remorseless about disrupting the educations of our children. They are remorseless about the medical personnel who risked their lives to save lives at the start of this pandemic but are now burned out because of the unvaccinated who believe in science only after they get sick. And they are remorseless about the stress, fear, and anguish that this pandemic is causing all of us.

We would have our lives back by now if 80% or more of us would do the right thing. It’s only a tiny prick and a sore arm for a few days. The risks are minuscule. The rewards are priceless and the benefits to your family, your country and your planet are immeasurable.

What kind of nation is this that we can’t pull together for the safety of our neighbors and our nation? Public health measures have nothing to do with freedom. We all adhere to traffic laws and pay our tickets when we don’t. Nothing is more important than saving lives and getting back to normal.

I’ve heard that shaming only makes anti-vaxxers dig in deeper. But I can’t help it. COVID rage is real.

Jackie Stephens is the Precinct 21 captain for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.

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