The shot heard around the world: Once praised ‘frontline heroes’ now labeled ‘selfish monsters’

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Vaccine hesitancy. It’s an issue that health experts and vaccine makers have nearly exhausted — protect yourself and protect others. But nearly a quarter of Americans are still reluctant, and now, fearing the consequences.

“We were once labeled the heroes on the front line for waking up no matter how tired we were and going to work, and now we are labeled as selfish monsters,” said Sara, who spoke on conditions of anonymity over fears of losing her job.

Sara says her employer is mandating the vaccine despite a number of workers who are reluctant to get vaccinated.

“We know if we refuse to get the vaccine by the deadline given to us that we will lose our jobs.”

But Sara is not alone. Data from a recent Quinnipiac poll suggests nearly one in four Americans have no plans on getting the vaccine.

Sara adds it’s not about being anti vaccination, it’s about the lack of choice.

“Women and men have fought for the right to be able to choose what happens to our bodies, and now that right is being taken away,” Sara said. “There should be an alternative solution.”

According to the CDC, mask wearing is one solution. “Masks are a critical step to help prevent people from getting and spreading COVID-19. A cloth mask offers some protection to you as well as protecting those around you. 

Sara and others add that Pfizer, and most recently, Moderna, are still awaiting FDA approval despite their emergency use authorization.

So if you’re like Sara and the millions of other reluctant Americans, what should you do?

Well, experts agree you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Dr. Robert Lennon at Penn State Health says don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions, especially if you’re not sure what to believe.

“They’re not going to think you’re dumb or a bad person or irrational if you talk about these things that you heard and ask these questions, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask those questions,” Lennon said.

The Pennsylvania Physician General, Dr. Denise Johnson says those who are already vaccinated may even be the secret weapon.

Those who have been vaccinated can share their experience and their reason for being vaccinated to help others make an educated decision.

No matter your stance — listen to understand, don’t listen to respond — and find a solution that works for everyone.

After all, we’re all in this together.

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