The unvaccinated have stolen Coastsiders’ Pumpkin Festival through their reckless irresponsibility, like some infectious “Grinch Who Stole Fall.” At least, so we were told in an op-ed published in the Half Moon Bay Review on Sept. 15 and authored by David Eblovi, of Half Moon Bay. Not only is this claim false, I believe it represents a dangerous trend toward demonizing our own coastal neighbors that must be stopped for the good of our community.
Contrary to Eblovi’s claim that unvaccinated people are uniquely to blame for spreading COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself says, “Vaccinated individuals infected with Delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated,” as reported by The Washington Post on July 29. The CDC further stated, “Vaccinated people infected with Delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.” Even CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a CNN interview on Aug. 5: “Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”
If being vaccinated protects you from serious illness but no longer prevents being infected or infecting others, as the CDC says, then blaming our unvaccinated neighbors for COVID-19 spread is deeply wrong.
In closing, I’d like to bring this back to our local community and the serious implications of labeling our unvaccinated neighbors as irresponsible and reckless without basis. I’m a lifelong Coastsider. I was born and raised here. I’ve run charities, community centers, youth programs, and food drives here alongside many of you. I’m raising my own family here. I’m also the type of person, like many of you, who thinks that our community could do with a great deal less politics and partisanship. My kids recently advertised a lemonade stand on Nextdoor and one of the many delightful neighbors we met there said, “It was such a relief just to see anything on Nextdoor that wasn’t about COVID or politics.”
I agree — and I think a great many of our coastal neighbors would too. This polarization is not who we are. This scapegoating of others isn’t us either. The day we, as a community, start blaming victims of a disease, we go down a path leading to the type of abuses we find shameful in American history.
There is a better way, a way of love for one’s neighbor, of tolerance and persuasion, that I believe our community will take instead. Last year’s motto was “In this together.” Now let’s make it our mission by showing practical kindness toward others in difficult times, not blaming and shaming.
Ian Patterson lives in Montara.