Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Now that vaccines really are imminent and long-term care staff and residents look to be first in line, you’re probably holding your breath, desperately longing for an answer to the most important question of all: What does Gary Tetz think I should do? 

That’s completely normal. I’m what the kids call an influencer, so it makes sense you’d want to hold off on rendering your own verdict until receiving my expert wisdom and advice. 

Under normal conditions, I would tell you this a private matter you should consider prayerfully in the quiet of your own heart and mind, but these are extraordinary times. So since you’re begging for my guidance, I’m reluctantly willing to provide it. 

I’ve already written about my own rationale, but I now realize that was needlessly nuanced and complex. So let me helpfully distill the decision-making process into two vital questions:

  1. If you take the shot, will it kill you and/or others? No.
  1. If you get the disease, will it kill you and/or others? Maybe. 

So yes, of course you should be vaccinated. 

Now, even after providing such a clear and logical template for making a sensible judgement, I recognize that you’ll probably still have questions, and I’ll take those now. 

“Gary, you don’t really know if it’s safe.” 

Well, you’re right, beyond a pesky mountain of scientific evidence and the word of experts I trust, I guess I don’t. But I know what isn’t safe — getting COVID-19. So I’ll take my chances.

“It might not work.”

True, but there’s only one scenario in which I can be certain about that — If I don’t take it. 

“It’s been so rushed. Aren’t you even a wee bit nervous?”

A little. But I’m in a burning house, and I’m not going to tell the fireman he can’t carry me out until he provides sworn affidavits from three previous fire victims and a notarized copy of his credentials.

“Isn’t that a ridiculous comparison?” 

Is it? Have you seen the COVID-19 numbers lately? It feels like a raging inferno to me. 

Don’t get me wrong. Your questions are completely warranted — I’ve asked them too. But we’re in a crisis here, with only one way out that doesn’t require indefinite isolation, exhausting safety measures, total economic devastation or the needless deaths of a few hundred thousand more residents, colleagues, neighbors, friends and family. 

So I’m asking all of us, this one time only, to blindly trust the experts, set aside our understandable fears and skepticism and just get the damn shots. 

What if I said please? 

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a two-time national Silver Medalist and three-time regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program, as well as an Award of Excellence honoree in the recent APEX 2020 Awards. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a writer and video producer for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.