Planning family Christmas was fun this year.
I call the anti-vax relatives and try – in the most polite and sensitive way possible – to propose we impose some covid safety measures so “everyone feels safe” at this time of year where “lots of people are seeing older and vulnerable people” – and mixing with multiple groups in quick succession.
“Yes,” the anti-vaxxers say. “That’s reasonable.”
Perhaps, we could all sit outside, eat at separate small tables and wear masks indoors, I suggest. Or maybe the anti-vaxxers can arrive after the vulnerable people have left so everyone can feel 100% comfortable.
It’s difficult, I explain, because even if people are themselves comfortable around anti-vaxxers, they may be seeing someone on Boxing Day who isn’t comfortable being a secondary contact of an unvaccinated person.
“We will get tested 24 hours before but that’s it,” the anti-vaxxers say. “We’re not wearing masks at Christmas. Testing should be sufficient for everyone.”
Meanwhile, another relative calls in to explain we should run rapid antigen testing at the door upon entry and masks will make a “bad event” and they “won’t want to come”.
And another group of relatives just assume that anti-vaxxers will be banned from Christmas altogether.
Oh dear … this is becoming a major diplomatic incident.
It gets worse. The conversation devolves into victimhood statements like “you’re humiliating me and my family”, and standoffs “if you’re going to treat unvaccinated people differently, we’re not coming” and then Jewish stars from fascist Nazi Germany start popping up in family feeds.
At which point family harmony has gone:
Not only do the anti-vaxxers want to mix among the family without extra covid safety measures (which would be imposed on everyone equally), they want to be able to attend extended family events without telling anyone they aren’t vaccinated. Keep it on the downlow … good strategy.
Nobody’s business. Private matter. My choice. Don’t tell me how to live my life. Segregation. Discrimination. Freedom.
How about 5.3 million deaths? Freedom to not die. Informed consent. Ethics????!! Not to mention that you are 20 times more likely to get covid from someone who is unvaccinated.
Several days later, after several rounds of negotiation and the Christmas event moving hosts and location to lower the covid safety measures, we are still at an impasse.
My phone is still being pinged by the anti-vaxxers sending out signals of anger and reconciliation on rotation. Mobile numbers are blocked, bridges are burned.
Inclusion is generally a good principle but not when it comes to infectious disease during a pandemic.
My message to everyone in this boat who’s planning a Christmas event: Don’t. Book a holiday. Oh wait, you can’t do that either. OK – hide under your bed. Tell everyone you’ve got covid. Whatever it takes, don’t do Christmas this year!
* This author has requested anonymity for … pretty obvious reasons