Yellow fever card
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Why I Am Not Getting a Vaccine At This Time

In this article pertaining to how physical inactivity kills more people per year than the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — and no one talks about it — I replied to a comment in which I wrote that “I do not get the vaccine for influenza either, Jackson Waterson — nor do I feel the need to get one for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at this time…

Why I Am Not Getting a Vaccine At This Time

“…and before anyone accuses me of being anti-vaccination, I have been vaccinated for yellow fever at least twice, among other vaccinations”.

In response to my comment, Brian CoVid — who is a reader of The Gatewrote the following comment:

Can you elaborate on why you would get the yellow fever vaccine if you were not visiting South America or Africa? Have you visited countries which require yellow fever vaccine?

I can only make assertions based on the information you provide. I’m now on my 3rd message with you about how you are masking getting a yellow fever vaccination as proof that you’re pro-vaccines. You just keep dodging the issue and not providing concrete statement or evidence on your position. Saying you received a yellow fever vaccine is just you virtue signaling and trying to cover up that you are anti-vaccine.

If you are pro-vaccine, and care about trying to protect yourself, your loved ones, friends, neighbors, and society in general, why not get a Covid vaccine? If you are willing to get the yellow fever vaccine, through no official requirement or “force” as you claim, why would you avoid any Covid vaccine?

Figuring that answering that comment would be significant, I decided to respond in the form of an article.

First, I did get the vaccine for yellow fever — at least twice in my lifetime — because I was preparing to visit Africa. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee, I have nothing better to do today. I am in the mood to get a vaccination — just because.” People receive vaccines because they believe that they need them to protect themselves — not because they want them…

…so yes — I have visited countries which require the vaccination for yellow fever.

Second, I do not believe in “virtue signaling”, which is defined as the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue. Janice — who is a reader of The Gateasked “What are you doing for your community? What have you done during this pandemic to address mental health concerns and suicidal ideation of those in crisis? Specific examples, if you please.” I chose not to answer because the many things which I do for my community, I do for the people — not to extol my virtues — and thus did not feel was germane to the discussion. In most cases, I choose to keep that personal and private — although some readers believe that I should state what I do in my public profile.

Third, I neither support vaccinations — nor do I oppose vaccinations. I believe that vaccinations serve a purpose in promoting better health for members of society worldwide in general to help prevent the spread of viruses and diseases…

…but the main reason why I choose to not get a vaccine at this time is because I am not completely convinced that it is effective despite the assertions of trusted health organizations that getting one is safe and effective — nor do we know what side effects may result in the short term and long term. If you wish to be vaccinated at this time, that is your prerogative.

I do believe that Airgypsy — who is a reader of The Gateexpressed similarly to how I feel rather well:

Not everyone who refuses the Covid vaccine is an anti-vaxxer. Can you appreciate the fact that some of us have safety concerns about these Covid vaccines that are currently only authorized for EMERGENCY use (EUA) and not yet FDA-approved? There is currently no FDA-approved Covid vaccine.

You know, I would take all my childhood vaccinations again if given an opportunity to choose. I know most of them are effective. I have a friend who recently tested positive for measles antibodies from her childhood measles vaccination. For most of those vaccines, once you get them, then there is almost no question that you’re protected and that you cannot contaminate other people. Can we say the same for these mRNA Covid vaccines- when they’re saying yes, you’re somewhat protected but we don’t know for how long, and yes, you can still get the virus, therefore, you must behave as if you have the virus, so you do not contaminate other people?

And I’m not saying these mRNA Covid vaccines are not effective or that they are unsafe for the long term. My point is, no one really knows at this point. Even the ‘experts’ don’t know because it is too early to tell. And while it is true that they have gone through multiple phases of studies/trials and that most data point to positive results, some of us, for valid reasons, have an aversion to taking an emergency-use vaccine that has not been FDA-approved, and so this should not be taken against us.

I am hoping for the best for all of those who have taken the vaccine. They have taken one for the team, so to speak, and I am saying this with all sincerity. By the same token, I wish that those who pressure others and those who deride those who choose to wait out of precaution, would just stop, and accept that an individual can and should make his own decision about his own body. The day that the government, or other people, can mandate what we put into our own bodies would be the end of our medical freedom and the beginning of health tyranny. Slippery slope.

Every time I received the vaccine for yellow fever, I experienced no side effects at all. It is a vaccine which has existed for at least 84 years — since 1937, to be more precise. Unlike the vaccines which are available for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the vaccine for yellow fever has proven over time that it is safe and effective.

Speaking of the vaccines for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, at least three are available in the United States, where I reside. Which one is the best or the safest or the most effective vaccine — the one developed by Pfizer, by Moderna, or by Johnson & Johnson?

Although a vaccine is likely to help control the spread of a virus or disease, no vaccine is guaranteed to be 100 percent effective for 100 percent of the people — and the side effects can potentially be significant.


Although evidence has recently been released that at least one of the vaccines for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has demonstrated that it may possibly protect other people, the main purpose of a vaccine is to protect the person who received it.

One might view the earliest recipients of the vaccinations — which were developed in less than one year, which is typically not enough time to truly test everything we need to know about the vaccine — as guinea pigs in a live test as to the effectiveness of the vaccines. I choose not to be one of those people…

…and although I have been scolded by a few readers of The Gate for not receiving a vaccine for influenza, I still do not plan to get one. After all, I have not contracted influenza — not even the common cold — in years. Why in the world would I want to get a flu shot?

Those are my reasons why I choose not to get a vaccination for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at this time — not because I do not care about the health and well being of other people; not because I do not care about the health and well being of myself; not because I oppose vaccinations; and not because I am engaging in some sort of “virtue signaling”.

We already have more than enough issues which have contributed to the sharp division between people in general in recent years. Let us not have the debate over vaccines be yet another one of those issues. You have a right to choose when, where, and why you want to receive a vaccine — if you even choose to have one, which is your choice.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Kudos for so clearly expressing what so many seem unable or unwilling to hear… we all have to make the right decisions for ourselves. And failing to do so as another chooses to do does not make either party better or worse than the other.

    We, as a population, must get away from the narrative that blindly supporting the cause of the day and attacking everyone who does not agree somehow makes someone a more ethical person.

    We are all on the same team – we are all fellow humans who just want to live good and fruitful lives to the best of our ability.

  2. A year ago Brian Cohen said Covid is nothing to worry about. How many people who read that are now dead? How many people who read this will be dead within a year?

      1. Imagine if there was a vaccine like this that lowered the heart disease rate (if everyone took it) to virtually 0. Comparing Apples and Oranges much, idiot?

      2. Thankfully, but the sad part is that they are In Addition of the people that died of heart disease….
        Math may not be your strong suit,
        but come on …

    1. If you get the vaccine, you will be fine. Why should you care what someone else does? If they don’t want it– and they get sick– that’s on them.

      I don’t care who does or doesn’t get the vaccine as I will be fine. Just like I don’t care who smokes and then ends up with lung cancer. People are allowed to make their own decisions, and if you get the vaccine, then you DON’T have to worry about what other people do.

      Worry about your own life, and don’t tell other people how to live theirs.

  3. “After all, I have not contracted influenza — not even the common cold — in years. Why in the world would I want to get a flu shot?”

    That’s like a woman saying “i’ve never gotten pregnant, why do i need birth control?” The Fallacy in that argument is hilarious.

    It is your choice to not get a vaccine, that’s your right and there’s no question about it. Don’t kid yourself in saying it’s because you don’t know if they are effective, when every available evidence shows it is effective, and safe. When every medical professional and organization, academic and practicing alike, have said it is safe and effective. Are you so arrogant that you think you know better than all these people? Or the 54M+ fully vaccinated people? Clearly you do, because you don’t want to be a “guinea pig,” you’re inferring that anyone who has gotten the shot is.

    You’re a travel blogger, so your expertise lies in that. You know nothing about medicine, so leave that to the experts. If you don’t wanna get the shot, that’s your right. Don’t make up false excuses and reasons why you don’t want it. The only reason the vaccine is EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) and not FDA approved is because it takes years for any sort of drug to be approved by the FDA. So would you have preferred more people to die for the vaccine to be fully vetted over years and then finally approved for you to feel safe? Obviously i don’t believe you do, so using that as an argument on why you’re not getting the shot is silly.

    My guess is that you dont feel it is necessary to get the vaccine for yourself because you don’t see COVID as a risk to you. That’s your right to believe that, be up front and honest about it then. Don’t muddy the lines and make up hilarious statements challenging the efficacy of the vaccine without any proof of the contrary.

    1. Remember when all of the healthcare professionals told all of the pregnant women that thalidomide was safe and effective?…

  4. minor ~~~correction~~~ needed :

    No one wakes up in the morning and say~~~s~~~, “Gee, I have nothing better to do today. I am in the mood to get a vaccination — just because.”

  5. I had my 2nd Moderna shot about a week ago, but I’m not a big pusher of any others to do so. My only concern is that if too many people go with your solid logic we may never reach herd immunity.

    However at a certain point the vaccines will have been readily available to all for a while . At that point those that have been vaccinated should not be expected to keep going with the restrictions of masks, etc. for the sake of those that choose not to be vaccinated (be it for just appearances or safety).

  6. If you have to work this hard to justify why you’re not anti-vax, you’re probably anti-vax. That’s fine, and it’s your choice. I just hope that most people will be smarter than this, and that people will see the holes in this article.

    Fan of the blog, regardless.

  7. Well said. I have volunteered at vaccine clinics. I think that those who choose to get the vaccine should get it as easily as possible. I trust they have researched and made the right decision for themselves.
    All I ask is that I get the same respect and understanding that I have made an informed decision about whether to get it myself. But that seem like a lot to ask from some people.

  8. The Yellow Fever vaccine is far more dangerous and confers far few benefits than the Covid-19 vaccine. If Brian has been vaccinated against yellow fever and still believes it is a good move, then he should logically also believe the Covid-19 vaccine is a good move for himself.

    Side effects of the yellow fever vaccine are far more common and potentially very serious. Not so with the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines. You can get encephalitis (brain swelling) or Guillain Barre Syndrome with several vaccines, including the yellow fever vaccine, but with several hundred million Covid vaccine recipients, there has not been either of these two side effects that are common to several vaccines.

    Covid kills people. Covid also mutates to variants in people it does not kill. Have too many Covid infected people and soon Covid will be immune to vaccine. So stop Covid while you can. Covid can be stopped with vaccines now. Wait and refuse too long and it won’t be stopped by the current vaccines.

    Brian, What is Wrong with this Photograph? I’d say “What is wrong with this picture (situation)?” What is wrong is that Brian is making a mistake. I hope Brian will get the vaccine. I would not want Brian to be permanently ill with long term effects, which can happen to middle aged people (and young people) who don’t die from Covid.

  9. Wow, America is truly lost. The author provided a clear, thoughtful reason for his decisions. I do not agree with every aspect of the logic but the factual points regarding EUA and absence of long term follow up are, well, factual. His blog is consistently respectful to other points of view. That others cannot extend him the same consideration demonstrates how far Americans have veered from what even a few years ago was understood to be the golden rule – treat others as you would want to be treated. That Americans – the collective with the highest COVID mortality rates in an advanced economy – feel entitled to shout with absolutely certainty what others must do is truly laughable.

    1. Science and viruses don’t care about your opinion. Vaccines work, and we’ve already tried this one out. Extensively. Get it or don’t get it, that’s your problem. Just wear a mask and let Darwin take the wheel. The rest of us are doing our best to get vaccinated to protect y’all free riders.
      Oh, and getting the yellow fever vaccine isn’t a “look at me, I’m fine with getting vaccinated”. The author got the vaccine because he had to. Because those countries made him do it. Because vaccines work.

  10. Miamiorbust you are right – just look at some of these comments. The need in some people to virtue-signal is so strong that even critical thinking is no impediment to it. Airgypsy writes of a ‘health tyranny’ – these people would welcome this tyranny with open arms.

  11. Imagine a job posting:

    “Health care workers needed. Job requirements may involve physically restraining patients to ensure compliance with government-mandated vaccine submission.”

    How many would take such a job, or approve of the need for people to do such things? There is a word, gleichschaltung, for what lies along such a road.

    They were also convinced they were right too, for the good of humanity.

  12. I’m sorry, but this article just makes it crystal clear that you are an anti-vaxxer. There is a huge and growing body of evidence that the C-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. This is scientific evidence derived using the gold standard for assessing both of these things and there is really no doubt about either of these FACTS. Using the anti-vaxxer language like “It’s still just EUA” or “side effects can potentially be significant”, and then claiming that it is because you don’t need it, is seriously deluded, if you are actually looking at the evidence. For example, your probability of having a serious reaction to C-19 is over 100 times higher than that of getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and your probability of dying from the virus is infinitely higher because NOT ONE PERSON has died from either of those vaccines and millions have died from the virus. And, yes, I am an expert.
    I have agreed with some of what you have written about specific pandemic measures being counterproductive and wrong-headed, but this is just craziness, particularly now that we know that this is maybe the most contagious disease that can kill people that has ever been documented. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for everyone else who may come in contact with you.
    Anti-vaxxers kill.
    Just stop.

    1. This! Thank you from a health care worker. As a physician I needed to get a special license to administer the Yellow Fever vaccine (take a course) because of the serious side effects. He got that vaccine because it was mandated to travel I am guessing.

  13. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

    C.S. Lewis

  14. Funny post. The second the Covid vaccine is required for an international trip you want to go on you’ll be racing to get one just like a yellow fever vaccine. The excuses will vanish but I’m sure the mental gymnastics will be entertaining to read.

  15. A friend of mine took your stance until he was infected and unknowingly passed it on to his sister who later died of Covid. To his credit he did change his stance.
    Your stance may change after you kill someone, but then again you probably will never see your role in the death with your self-centered attitude.
    Go ahead, let others do the work while you enjoy the free ride we confer to you as we reach herd immunity through vaccination.
    Btw, your comments of all your “hidden virtues” you choose not to announce was truly sickening. People like you like to blow your own horn without making people think you are actually doing it. What an ego!
    God I wish they would get your face off boarding area! Please!

  16. The issue is asymptotic transmission. Are you going to travel before you are vaccinated? Are you going to visit areas where social distancing isn’t possible? If enough people share your belief that is based on your feeling rather than science, we risk negating the gains made through vaccines.

    You can choose not to get vaccinated, but please refrain from traveling. I encourage you to ground your statements in facts rather than feelings considering the deadliness of the disease.

  17. Well said. I feel exactly the same as you. I do actually get the flu shot annually, but that’s because I’m prone to asthma, bronchitis, etc. If you had asked me a year ago about taking the vaccine for the Wuhan virus I would have been 100 percent on board, but with the mendacity we’ve seen from our political class in the last year I’m taking a pass. I will do the opposite of what Dr Fauci and Nancy Pelosi tell me to do.

    1. You’re doing the opposite of what Nancy Pelosi says but are at risk of complications so get the flu shot? If you die or get sick it’ll really show her… Trump, McConnell got the shot too

      Hundreds of Thousands of immunologist, vaccine experts, epidemiologist, doctors, dentists, hygienists, nurses all got the shot. I don’t fly the plane since I’m not a commercial pilot, and I trust me doctor of 20years when he says my blood pressure is high.

    2. Some people in your comments have said that not taking the vaccine is a ‘brave personal decision’ – it is not. It is not brave and it is certainly not personal.

      When a person doesn’t get vaccinated, they are NOT making a personal decision. They are also making a decision for any immunocompromised people (and people for whom the vaccine doesn’t work for whatever reason) that the unvaccinated person comes in contact with.

      The society relies on herd immunity to protect its most vulnerable. This is true for even diseases that we have eradicated – measles, TB etc.

      And there are 3 levels of dangerous pig-headedness:

      1. I am not getting vaccinated but it’s a personal decision.
      2. I am going to proselytise about my anti-vax stance to friends and family so that they don’t get vaccinated either.
      3. I am going to use my public pulpit to validate and spread my dangerous and irresponsible decision impacting thousands of other lives.

      You have chosen the third and most dangerous route – this article is a public health hazard and it deserves to be booted off boarding area.

      1. I believe that everyone should get vaccinated. I also believe that resistance to the vaccination from people who are not anti-vaxxers would disappear if there were an incentive to doing so and confidence in the vaccines were demonstrated by the current political leadership, by saying that people who are vaccinated can stop wearing masks two weeks after the second shot. I applaud those senators that have taken a stand on this and who have said similar things. The CDC’s guidelines are unsatisfactory. “After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more”. Then on the other hand, just a few days ago: “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real-world data,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Rachel Maddow on Monday, March 29.

  18. Very well put, and I would add this is a very brave position to take, particularly among boardingarea blogs.

    I agree completely. The short answer is, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” It is undeniable that no long term side effect studies have been done. There is no information on potential impacts on the reproductive system.

    Funny how quickly “My body, my choice” goes out the window for certain types of people.

    I’ll say this: I personally know two hospital nurses, one of which is a LPN, and neither of them are opting for the vaccine at this time. Yet, they both publicly implore everyone via Facebook to “get vaccinated, people!” I called the LPN out on it and she defends her signaling by saying it keeps her from being harassed by superiors/coworkers for her own personal decision. It shows those with authority over her that she’s down for the cause even if she doesn’t personally agree with it. Safe to say this is probably pervasive in the medical community.

    Bottom line: informed consent is not currently possible, and there’s no one you/your family can sue if things go wrong.

  19. Wait is this an april fools joke?
    Good news though is you don’t need to take another yellow fever shot (I recently read that one shot is effective for life.)
    It is your body and you have the choice not to take the vaccine as long as you’re fully aware of the possible consequences of what may happen and accept them. There is always risk in life.

  20. Thank you for the sensible explanation. My only quibble is with your use of the word TRUSTED in the following:

    ” I am not completely convinced that it is effective despite the assertions of trusted health organizations that getting one is safe and effective…”

    I have zero trust in these “officials”, especially Fauci and Birx.

  21. I’m OK with people not getting vaccinated as long as people who are vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks, and are no longer required to adhere to social distancing. It would not be right for herd immunity to be a requirement for this if it can never be achieved due to people opting out.

    Also, as with anyone who is a potential carrier, those that opt out should practice social distancing with people at risk of death who are not yet eligible for vaccination unless either have antibodies.

    You do a lot of good for the community, in particular by speaking out against the overreaction and fear mongering that continues to take place.

  22. Selfish and ignorant, not a good mix.

    Thankfully the majority of society is doing their part and thinking about others. If everyone had your attitude we’d be in this mess for years.

    As other posters have said:
    1) Nice clickbait, the sooner Boarding Areas boots you the better. Bloggers are scientists now, who knew. Don’t even have a journalism degree, let alone a medical one. But please, keep spreading the ignorance.
    2) Just wait until there is something ‘more important’ than the vaccine ‘risk’ (e.g. entering a country, event, or employment). Popcorn ready for the gymnastics.

    Just pathetic.

  23. Not getting vaccinated puts our entire country at higher risk for future variants to emerge. It is your right to not get vaccinated, but I hope it will be true also that unvaccinated people will not be allowed to fly commercially, use trains, public transit, attend schools, or dine inside at restaurants.

    You’re entitled to your choice, foolish and selfish as it may be. Society is entitled to make its choices, too

    Thank goodness I live in California where restrictions against the unvaccinated are more likely.

    1. I don’t agree with optng out but do you have scientific proof that opting out creates variants?

      1. Any basic public health or virology course can reveal to you the basic fact that the more a virus (or bacterium) replicates, the more chance there is for a mutation that makes it more dangerous. As any virus in an infected person can replicate hundreds of thousands to millions of times, the basic math shouldn’t even challenge numbskulls who don’t understand science but love to pretend to know what they’re talking about — like you and Brian.

        Vaccinated persons almost entirely won’t allow infection, preventing not only the spread of the virus but also its chances for mutation to create even more dangerous variants. Unvaccinated morons only allow the chances for more variants to increase.

        It only takes one variant to be much more lethal and much more contagious. Numbskulls like you and Brian are letting that possibility become more probable. Stupidity isn’t pretty, and you don’t wear it well.

        1. You clearly didn’t read my whole post because if you had, you would see that I don’t agree with opting out. I said that at the beginning of my post. High quality people don’t call others names just because they have different opinions or because they ask questions.

    2. No one *has* to vaccinate for anything and can still do all these things in America… why is this the vaccine you arbitrarily decide must be enforced?! Measles – okay. Rubella – okay. TB – okay. Covid – oh my goodness, you are a threat to all society and must be vaccinated or you are evil. Seriously people! What gives all of you the right to decide what any of us do with our bodies?!

      1. You really are dense. Over. 90-95% of the U.S. population is immunized against all the diseases you mention. That’s why we have herd immunity against those.

        Stupidity isn’t pretty, but you wear it well.

  24. @bill
    Your happy you live in California, where they have enough votes to recall the governor, due to his destroying of the business of California while having the same death rate at Texas
    You’re a expert on this matter that no one died from a vaccination ? So what about the 33 people in Norway that did and the 72 people under the “observation” that did, I say you lost your “expert” status after making a ignorant comment like that

    1. @Isaac seems to prefer ad hominem and red herring attacks because he is actually aware of how stupid the anti-vaccine position really is. He obviously confused enough signatures to get a recall election on the ballot (1.5 million signatures) with the number of votes it would take to actually win the recall election (more than 6 million at very least). And California’s mortality rate due to covid is less than that of Texas — and the California numbers are continuing to decrease even as Texas numbers are increasing rapidly.

      It’s always easy for blowhard to say whatever feels right, and it’s just as easy to recognize a blowhard for being obviously oblivious to the actual facts.

      Get vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands. And help America beat covid instead of helping stupidity thrive and covid more chances to beat us.

      1. I’m not defending the wish not to vaccinate but it’s also not true that the numbers in Texas are increasing according to the Global Epidemics site. Even if they were, this really had nothing to do with vaccinations. It’s obvious that numbers of deaths will drop as numbers of vaccinated people increase.

  25. It seems several of you did not actually read this article, or even the title!

    As has been well mentioned above… this is a blog… owned and written by a singular personal blogger… who is sharing his singular, personal opinion on his blog that he is opting out of the Covid vaccine AT THIS TIME (see – right there in the title!)

    Brian chose, in his blog, to share his reasons why he is making this decision. Not to prove or disprove his vaxx stance, not to coerce others to do as he does through bullying, not to claim to be a medical professional, and not to criticize those who choose to be vaccinated.

    Choosing to comment in disagreement is reasonable. Choosing to comment in agreement is reasonable. Choosing to attack, name-call, ridicule, or vilify is childish at best.

    Should he, or anyone else, decide to receive this vaccine in a week or a month … or only because he needs it to travel – so be it. Still his opinion, his choice – no verbal gymnastics required.

    The decision of so many to now try to armchair officiate the lives of others showcases how pitiful their own existence must be. Trolling on someone else’s site to tell them they have no right to an opinion – especially if it differs from your own – is a sad display of a lack of self-esteem. God help us all.

  26. What do we do with AIDS? You can spread it to all, don’t wear condoms, etc.

    I want Brian, all my relatives and friends, and myself to get vaccinated.

    If not vaccinated, people should wear N95 masks (not flimsy cloth masks), social distance about 12-18 feet (6 ft is because they didn’t want to have a difficult to achieve number), leave house only for essential reasons, not travel and do all of these measures even when the majority (maybe 70%?) are vaccinated.

    In Gibraltar, 90% of adults have been vaccinated and now they go to pubs and don’t wear masks. Only 3% refused vaccine and 7% hasn’t made decisions due to vaccine shortage. Source is story.

    If you want to know my general opinions, I am not a huge proponent flu shots but big supporter of covid vaccination.

  27. Assuming this is an April Fool’s Day post, since this is definitely quite foolish. Not only is this attitude very selfish and anti-social, but it seems internally inconsistent not to protect oneself or loved ones against covid. After all, we don’t know the long-run effects of getting covid, even if it is not fatal in that individual. Since we don’t know the long-run effects of the variants that are more likely to develop if people don’t get vaccinated, that kind of risk-aversion is a strong argument to get vaccinated quickly!

    This is really disappointing. As many others have suggested, this anti-vax take is reminiscent of conspiracy theorists like Alex Berenson.

  28. I appreciate you answering my questions, but as many commentators have pointed out, your position is clearly one as being anti-vaxx. The mental gymnastics in order to validate and justify your position is beyond comprehension. You’re more than welcome to claim what you think, but again, you’re readers are educated to read through your veiled stance on this topic. Again to suggest otherwise belittles us.

    As many have pointed, the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. To suggest “the side effects can potentially be significant” is a false narrative. What can be worse then death? You continue to spread doubts on a subject that you are not an expert in and feed more fuel “to the sharp division between people in general in recent years”. Thousands if not millions of educated man-hours have gone into developing and testing these vaccines, but you don’t trust the science because… you think you’re smarter then them?

    The vaccine is the solution to having some sense of normalcy return to our lives. It also will allow us to return to more unrestrained flying and traveling. As a travel blogger, you should want and encourage the ability to return to this hobby that you and your readers so love (and honestly have taken for granted pre-Covid).

    As many said, once/if domestic and international travel require having a Covid Vaccine, you will be singing a different tune. I hope you stick to your morals and stay home or limit your travel to where all the unvaccinated are welcomed (ie Florida). Just don’t complain that you’re being constrained.

    This exchange has definitely turned me off from reading your blog any further. It’s quite sad that you can’t see past your jaded view and encourage others to make the right decision. The US is almost out of the thick of it with vaccinations, but this kind of short minded thinking is what will prolong the disease and the current restrictions. Unfortunately there are too many folks like you who think your individual opinions outweigh the health and safety of society.

    There are two ways I think you can learn and change your stance:
    1. By you or a loved one contracting a severe case of Covid (I don’t wish that on anyone god forbid), or
    2. By losing readers/followers.

    I can at least help you learn by no longer reading you anymore. I hope other readers do the same.

    1. I still do not understand your obsession with labeling that someone is pro or antivax?!?! Shades of grey are apparently lost on you.

      Nonetheless, what could you possibly mean by “”losing followers/readers”? Are you suggesting that any blogger should restate their personal opinions and pander to the beliefs of an unknown reader? Why would anyone of any self worth do that? That is the one thing that would make responsible readers run for the hills. Scary that you think that way. I sincerely hope that this blogger and all others choose to stay true to themselves and not chase readership from those too dense or egotistical to accept any alternative opinions. Truly terrifying that anyone would suggest otherwise.

  29. I can respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion (assuming this is real), but I will not respect the basis on which you’ve articulated it. All the little questions you have about the virus have answers and context that could put you at ease, but it seems you’ve spent all your time using the internet to find voices that agree with you rather than getting an explanation that you can understand. The basis for MY reaction comes from how inconsistent your reasoning is and the lack of any honest attempt to see why the FDA scientists have given EUA approval and what this actually means.

    Firstly, you talk about how much you trust the yellow fever vaccine but when you look at the worst side effect reported in either vaccine, they are almost exactly the same. Anaphylaxis show up in yellow fever vaccinations roughly 1 in 131,000 doses where the pfizer vaccine 1st dose is showing Anaphylaxis in about 1.5 in 131,000 looking at almost 2 million Covid vaccine doses. Virtually the same.

    You simultaneously rely on the scientific basis for full FDA approval, saying you only trust an FDA approved vaccine, but when those very same experts say the EUA is the best route given so many people are dying right now – suddenly the FDA experts are only “experts.”

    EUA approval is a type of FDA approval that is issued by the FDA. EUA approval was specifically designed to address cases where the full FDA approval process would create more harm than good. Isn’t it strange that you’re shying away from a “non FDA approved” vaccine that the FDA has approved because the probability of harm from the vaccine is lower than the probability of harm by delaying the vaccine.

    You say the experts don’t know if it’s safe but we actually know a LOT about their safety. This is where all those years of studying and scientific work come into play. But lets look at some numbers we can all digest. Just looking at straight approval (which includes rejections that are not based on safety), vaccines that make it to stage 3 trials have an 85% chance of getting final FDA approval.

    So Brian, guessing you’re in your 40s, your chance of dying from Covid without a vaccine is about 0.4%. But your chances of going into anaphylaxis based on 2 million doses is 0.00145% (which was almost identical to the vaccine you gladly took). So not only are you 275x more likely to die than even have an allergic reaction, you will likely spread it to someone else who may be even more likely to die. So, as you might imagine, I’m not impressed with you.


  30. The recent, tiny CDC study (of a scant 3,950 vaccinated people over 13 weeks) currently shows the vaccines are potentially 80% effective after one dose and 90% effective after two doses. Great news! I sincerely hope that we see continued good results. And I hope it confers excellent protection for those who choose to get it as it is important to them to have that protection. But who really knows which vaccinated persons are seeing effectiveness? Who gets to travel? Stop wearing masks? Be vaccine legit? This idea that the vaccine is a complete panacea is overstated at best.

    In my case, I am less concerned about the immediate allergic reaction – although I do have specific personal knowledge of rather extreme reactions my elderly parents had to the Pfizer vaccine and my otherwise-healthy young adult child had to the Moderna vaccine – but rather the potential for future issues 3, 5, 10 +years later. As someone who has suffered decades of issues from a then-perfectly legal medication given to my mother while I was in-utero (and has since been deemed harmful to the fetus and banned for use during pregnancy), the long-term effects scare me more than any initial reaction.

    As much as I support anyone else’s right to get the vaccine, I am disturbed that I am supposed to overlook my personal health concerns for the good of someone else. Why is my health less important than yours or theirs? If the vaccine works, then you getting yours should be enough for you. So why come after me and others who are not so comfortable yet?!

    1. I agree with much of what you say, but some corrections / clarifications:

      1) Good link, but the more comprehensive data is the trials themselves:
      Pfizer: 43,000+ participants, +95% effective
      Moderna: +30,000 participants, +94% effective
      Those are home run type numbers in the vaccine world. Questioning effectiveness as this author did is either ignorant or disingenuous. They also track safety data in all 3 phases. There have been over 150 million doses injected in the US without a peep of issues (yes there is some concern about those prone to other severe allergic reactions).

      2) I like to think most people support an individual’s right to choose, especially if there are medical complications. That said, a good society looks out for one’s neighbors and as a citizen I feel an obligation to not contribute to the problem and do my part to support the greater good, either by getting the vaccine or practicing mitigation measures. This isn’t about protecting oneself, this is about stamping out the virus – the longer that takes the worse this can get (variants). Travelers need to be more conscious of being a transmission vector. I see this as a values and ethics issue, but a personal choice nevertheless.

      3) Not everyone is eligible currently to get a vaccine and likely won’t by the end of the year. Trials have just started for children. So again, this isn’t simply about protecting oneself.

      4) The backlash you’re seeing isn’t about the ‘choice’, as wrong as the rationale may be, it is using the Boarding Area platform to spread the ignorance and legitimize this behavior. This is clearly clickbait, and it works, just like previous attempts, but with some real consequences this time. Because of that, I view it as inappropriate, to put it mildly. People subscribe to Boarding Area, and unfortunately get this blog included in their feed (spam).

  31. @ NB_ga this started because your man claimed to be pro-vaxx. Myself and others are just proving the fallacy of this claim.

    I think there are more responsible bloggers out there who I would rather follow who listen to science and don’t belittle their readers with asinine arguments.

    1. Hmmm… okay. I cannot say that I interpret the prior article or this one as either pro or anti-vax. For those that did, the desire to impart your opinion is obviously valid. I am still abundantly surprised by the amount of hatred and intolerance spewed by many.

      I have a stable of a dozen or so blogs (including this one) where I generally find enlightened articles and viewpoints of which I have an interest. I also find several blogs on BA that truly disturb me with poor writing and/or senseless topics… I personally subscribe to those I value and not to the BA feed at large.

      I did, accidentally, happen on one BA blog who willingly visited my state during the heyday of the pandemic – knowing full well that we had no mask mandate and limited Covid restrictions – then wrote article after article berating us for not living up to their safety standards. That is not #science, that is simply rude! Apparently, I did not meet their gold standard of comment worthiness so I was never able to share my opinion of their treatment.

      I guess my point is that there are a lot of blogs, on BA and elsewhere, and not all will be liked by all. So be it. I adore reading blog comments in general but think this vitriol got way out of hand. We can all be better than this.

  32. Your anti-vax article has convinced me to unfollow Travel Update today. It’s sad when a trusted travel news site decides to publish such things. But your article has convinced me to change my mind on an issue–I now think that vaccine passports are actually a rather good idea to make sure we have herd immunity on flights.

  33. In America, we should be able to agree to disagree, to respect personal choices. And I do respect that you’ve reviewed the information and that you’re doing what you feel is best for you. My father died of covid, as he wasn’t able to get the vaccine in time in our state. He would have if it were available, but, despite being safe with masks, etc., he still managed to catch covid and he died less than two weeks later, on a ventilator, alone in a hospital room, and the only thing our family could do in his last moments was tell the doctor to pull eh plug. That was about 10 weeks ago, and our family is still extremely saddened by it. So, I do respect your personal choice. I just hope you and your family won’t have to suffer that incredible tragedy that we had to go through.

    1. I will respect individuals’ personal choices to the extent that they don’t potentially negatively affect me or my family (I have an immediate family member with a congenital immunodeficiency). If an individual’s choice selfishly threatens me, my family or others in similar situations, then I will condemn them as loudly as I possibly can.

      People who don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine (other than those instructed by their physician that they *can’t*) are selfish, scared, ignorant jerks. That, unfortunately, seems to include Brian. Every single one of his “arguments” is a bogus excuse for why he’s too selfish to care about the people with whom he comes in contact.

      And to those here who are also too much of a coward to protect other members of society by getting a highly effective and safe vaccine, you’re worthy of scorn, too.

  34. You strike me as the type that likes to flex in the mirror and point to your biceps. And valet your car when there is self parking 20 ft away. You make no sense other than present yourself as a complete idiot/narcissist. In the immortal words of a Starbucks barista who told me after complaining that the coffee I mistakingly picked up was not what I ordered, “It’s not all about you.”

  35. I don’t understand the rationale behind not getting vaccinated simply because it isn’t guaranteed to be effective. People make decisions based on probabilities, not on certainties. We board planes because the odds are we’ll arrive safely. We eat at restaurants because the odds are we won’t get food poisoning. We wear seat belts in cars because the odds are they could save our lives in an accident. We take vaccines because the odds are they’ll protect us. I don’t need to be 100% certain that a vaccine will protect me. If I do come down with Covid at least I’ll know, by taking a vaccine now, that I tried my best to prevent my own illness. I’ll never have to utter the words “If only I had taken the vaccine this might not have happened.”

    The term “virtue signalling” has no place in this story. Getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus isn’t “virtuous”. Getting vaccinated to prevent yourself from being a vector for viral mutations isn’t “virtuous”. It’s simply being a caring human being – wanting to be part of society and contributing to the greater good of everyone. It’s time to stop think of “me” and start thinking of “us”. That’s the only way we all recover and get back to the old normal.

  36. So selfish. I bet you’ll get the vaccine when the countries that you want to visit starts requiring them. (Just like the yellow fever vaccine). Travel bloggers should stay in their lane and talk about travel….this is not your expertise. Please leave vaccine analysis to the scientists. Your comments are dangerous.

  37. @Brian
    They will slice, dice and flip the argument anyway they want to but they won’t be able to change the fact that there have not been long-term studies on its safety. They will gaslight us, label us as selfish for holding off (for now) from taking a non-FDA-approved, first-of-its-kind in technology vaccine. So be it.

    I admire you for being brave in expressing an unpopular stance on what you believe. Not many have your courage to voice a different point of view, lest they get attacked by the Covid army.

    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – Gen. George Patton

    1. @Airgypsy. You’re right, we will label you all as selfish, cowardly free-riders who are unconcerned with the health effects of others.

      I genuinely hope that private companies, e.g., airlines, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres (as is their right) introduce vaccination passports as prerequisites to participate as active members of the public, so that you can’t threaten those in our society who are unable to protect themselves.

      You, like all anti-vaxxers of any description, are worthy of nothing but scorn.

  38. Dissolving Illusions – 1500 Amazon reviews

    Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies – #1 on Amazon – Health Policy right now

    Learn the Risk website – the diseases link in particular.

    Vaxxed I and Vaxxed II documentaries

    The Highwire – C19 weekly videos

    Reddit – DebateVaccines

    Youtube – evolution of bacteria petri dish

    Thailand Medical News stories re: strains / variants

    those pretty much reveal the scam of vax and C19 vax. C19 vax will end up killing many more…either directly, or the strains it spawns.

    emotionally blind folks everywhere. No shame in that…until the last few months, I was ignorant of all this.

  39. 95% efficacy fraud as well….

    Pfizer studies – ZERO died of C19, meanwhile in USA – 75,000+ died more/less.

    Moderna – only 1 death

    test results from summer/early fall – peak immune strength

    AstraZeneca – 65% female participants. (Males have more problems). NO OBESE participants. (Nevermind all this blood clot stuff)

    Moderna – manipulated dates/c19 testing between Placebo / Test group — see Highwire video – How Effective is the Covid-19 vaccine.

    oh…and all current 4 Variants of Concern – are from the primary 4 vax test countries. UK, South Africa, Brazil, USA….

  40. Ever noticed how the ‘pro-experimental-vaccine’ people think you’re the worst human being for NOT wanting the vax, and yet, those who don’t want to take the experimental vax, are respectful for those who want to take it?

    This is the classic sign of successful propaganda.

    I feel bad for people who think everyone should be vaxxed. Too bad they’ve lost the ability to understand that they are the target of propaganda, and that they are being used.

    Good for you Brian. There are millions of people like you out there who can smell the bullshit.

    1. @James

      The two groups of people aren’t morally equivalent in the slightest.

      Those who receive the vaccine pose no potential risk to anybody but themselves.

      Those who refuse the vaccine pose a risk not only to themselves but also the other members of society who cannot receive the vaccine. That is selfishness of the highest order.

      You are cowards who are worthy of nothing but contempt and don’t deserve to participate in society.

    2. That’s rather like people who smoke being more tolerant of people who don’t smoke compared with people who do not smoke being tolerant of those that do. This is a comparison you cannot make in a case such as the one being discussed. In my case I am tolerant in that I am not being rude and insulting to people who choose not to get vaccinated even though I don’t agree with their choice.

  41. I’m looking forward to Vaccine Passports so that people like you are forced to stay home and cry on your conspiracy blogs. The rest of us can go about our lives. Anyway, good for you, Brian, you managed to get some attention to your blog. You went from barely anyone knowing who you are and averaging 0 comments per post, to this. Welcome to your 15 minutes of fame, Homer Simpson.

  42. Brian, you indicate hesitancy at taking the vaccine because the long term effects of the vaccine are not [empirically] known. However, the same can be said of contracting Covid-19 itself. There is quite a bit of evidence forming that a substantial portion of those contracting Covid-19 do not just recover in a short period of time. Plus what other damage might be occurring in young people that might not manifest itself for decades? It is a choice, but the vaccine likely has narrower range of long term impacts than the disease itself. Not known empirically on either yet, but that seems to be the individual choice.

  43. To my friends across the aisle who think the Vaccine is b.s., millions of Americans aren’t dropping like flies. I’ll spare you the lecture since others above have spoken.

  44. ANTI-vax, vaccine HESITANCY, vaccine RELUCTANCE.

    Terms pHARMa uses to demonize those who disagree with them / stop their profits.

    Words chosen by some marketing agency no doubt.

    “Anti-Vax” – “Anti-American”

    I like Vax Powered Variants and pHARMa. Vax Variants. it’s ok…world could use a population thinning. Now we know who to thank.

    1. @Whocares

      You’re right. I don’t use terms like “antivaxxers” – I use the word “coward.”

      1. @Greg

        You consider the proper word to be “coward” to describe the rational decision not to inject a healthy body with an altering substance on the demand of an angry mob?!?!?!

        Perhaps your apparent blind adherence to the amped-up media indoctrination has confused your internal dictionary?

        1. @NB_ga

          You’re unwilling to take even a statistically insignificant amount of risk to your personal self by receiving the vaccine to potentially protect the lives of others when our nation is under threat.

          Yes, “Coward” is absolutely the proper word. Because you’re afraid that the vaccine might hurt you and that fear is greater than your willingness to do what’s right for others.

          We’re in a war against a disease that has killed 1.5% of the US population in the last year. And you’re afraid to use the one weapon we have to stop it. That’s “cowardly conduct” “before the enemy” (Google that – those are magic words).

          Now, if you told me that you were willing to shelter in place and not go to restaurants, movies, travel, etc., until you decided that the vaccine has reached the appropriate level of safety for your personal comfort, like so many immunocompromised people have been required to do for the past more than a year? Then I’d consider withdrawing the label of “Coward” because you’d at least be taking a consistent moral stand and sacrificing for your perspective (as crazy as I think it is). That makes you a conscientious objector. Like a Mennonite. I can respect that. But then you don’t also get to enjoy all the fruits of society, too. Doing so just makes you selfish, expecting everyone else to make the sacrifices that you’re not willing to make. That selfishness because you’re afraid of the vaccine makes you a coward.

          And yeah, it’s personal, because one of my family members is immunocompromised, and we’ve had to shelter in place for more than a year because too many selfish idiots can’t keep their masks on or use hand sanitizer or get a vaccination. Because they’re afraid of a little inconvenience, or some theoretical risk from the vaccine that hasn’t remotely born fruit, despite hundreds of millions of doses administered. It’s not theoretical. People like you have forced my family member to withdraw completely from society for more than a year. Your cowardice is deeply personal to me.

          You don’t like that label? Hurts your feelings a little bit? Maybe hits a bit close to home? Good.

          It’s not to late to grow up and decide that you’re not going to be a coward.

          1. I will acknowledge the typo in my percentage of deaths. Put another way – 553,681 people in the US have died of this disease. More than were killed in WWI and WWII combined. More than 30,000,000 people have been struck by the disease. It’s a war. My anger affected my typing.

          2. I cannot speak for the author nor any of the other commenters who have weighed in but…

            I feel immense sorrow for the 553,681 people in the US who have died with Covid just as I feel immense sorrow over the over 3,358,000 Americans who lost their lives in 2020. Every one of those deaths is just as sad and just as meaningful as the other. This year-long assault on our nation as a result of picking one ailment as worthy of this insane overreaction – restricting actions, costing jobs and security, shuttering schools and business, and now – strong-arming people into quickly-developed vaccines is way overboard.

            For the record, my family and I are essential workers. We have been out in the community every single day for over a year, obviously practicing basic sanitation (sad how many needed a pandemic to learn to wash their hands after using the bathroom), wearing masks when requested of us, and doing our best to eat well and exercise in the fresh air as much as possible. My severely immune-compromised elderly parents welcomed us into their homes throughout as seeing their grandkids is significantly more important than the tiny risk of contracting Covid. I am sorry you and your family felt the need to lock away. It may have been your choice or it may have been a mandate in the location where you live. Either way, I do feel extreme sadness that you and your family lost this year of your lives… but that was not and is not my fault.

            As I said below… None of us are without guilt in causing some chaos healthwise or behaviorwise. I find it increasingly tiresome to hear the group-think narrative as to which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Best wishes.

  45. Meh, no one seemed to care about getting the basic flu vaccine every year even though flu killed thousands of the elderly and children. I guess this is different because it a) kills “enough” people to care b) worries enough average people to protect their own lives.

    Humans are always entertaining to watch.

    1. Maybe in your circles nobody cared. Here everyone cares in fact it’s a requirement in order for our children to go to school for them to get vaccinated in general, and most people I know get flu shots.

  46. If you contract Covid and need medical care, you should be denied it and left to suffer or die at home. I have always found you to be pompous and one of the weaker blogs in the Boarding Area group whenever I made the mistake of clicking on one of your articles. If nothing else has happened in the past few years it has been proven that words matter and they have an impact on others. Your post is reckless and I won’t be clicking on your site again. Even the few cents you’ll get from AdSense is not deserved. The logo of your site is also telling in what a self-centered a-hole you truly are.

    1. @Anthony

      By that logic, no one should ever receive any medical care.

      You do not get to pick and choose what behaviors are deserving and which are not. Smokers and drinkers and addicts and those who make poor food and exercise choices still receive care when their actions damage their health and the health of those around them. Erratic or impaired drivers still get emergency services even though they almost always create their own catastrophes. None of us are without guilt in causing some chaos healthwise or behaviorwise. Yet, you somehow feel inclined to proselytize about what behaviors you demand others correct to your standards. Sad.

      Choosing to read or not read this blog is, however, well within your personal rights. Do as you please and save the rest of us from your entitled opinions on the lives of others.

    2. As I have said, I disagree with Brian’s opinion on COVID vaccinations, yet I still find his articles very interesting, well written and thought-provoking.

      I am stunned that someone (in one of the comments) would say “you should be left to suffer or die at home”, attributing no value to a person’s life when the whole basis of the dispute here is the potential loss of life that can be caused by not being vaccinated.

      It is also ironic that the same commenter would in one sentence say “If nothing else has happened in the past few years it has been proven that words matter and they have an impact on others” while at the same time writing words designed to hurt and to cause mental pain.

      There are other responses that disagree (like mine) which don’t resort to hurtful words. I really I am now opening myself to your wrath, even though we both agree on the subject of vaccinations, but I couldn’t stand by and see someone being bullied without saying anything.

  47. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But using your platform to spread this is irresponsible. I’ll use my voice and no long read this blog.

  48. Dear Brian,
    Please take the vaccine. I got Pfizer and it was fine.

    I would hate for you to get a bad case of COVID-19.

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