'You do you, and I'll do me' anti-vaccine mantra ultimate in selfishness

“You do you, and I’ll do me!”

With those words, Donnabeth Crossley instructed me to keep my pro-vaccine opinions out of her face and, presumably, her arm. After reading my recent column about kids, ages 5 to 11, now being eligible to receive the CDC-approved Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, and after reading pro-vaccine comments from Cinnaminson resident Robert Johnstone, Burlington County Health Department Director Herb Conaway, and me, the Moorestown resident figuratively rolled up her sleeves.

Not for a shot, but a verbal fight.

“Who the hell are you to tell me what I should do for my kids?” Crossley said. “We still don’t know enough about this vaccine or how it affects grownups long term! But you’re telling me I should get them for my kids? Their bodies are still forming. They’re not done developing. Can you guarantee the shot won’t affect their growth? No, you can’t. Nobody can.”

I asked Crossley how she reconciles having her children vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella in order to attend school.

Virtua advanced nurse clinician Amanda Mazaleski
(right) vaccinates co-worker AJ Papeika, risk safety
manager at Virtua Marlton Hospital.
Virtua advanced nurse clinician Amanda Mazaleski (right) vaccinates co-worker AJ Papeika, risk safety manager at Virtua Marlton Hospital.

“I have to give in to that,” she said.

“If you’re so vehemently opposed to vaccine mandates, you could home school,” I suggested. “Aren’t you also worried about how those vaccines might affect your kids? The COVID vaccine, like MMR, is designed to prevent potentially serious medical conditions. I’m also interested in knowing whether or not you’ve been vaccinated for COVID. Are you?”

Silence. And then ...

“Know what, go peddle your left-wing bull(crap) somewhere else,” she snapped. “I’ll do me, and you do you.”

Crossley punctuated her anger with a final word in her closing sentence of sizzle. She fired off a word not permitted to be published by this fine family news organization. Let’s just say it was a combination of a braying farm animal and an orifice, and leave it at that.

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Here’s the problem with “you do you, I’ll do me”: The choice not to have your children or yourself vaccinated does not exist in a vacuum. Deciding against vaccination could adversely affect others. You could contract the virus and be asymptomatic; not even know you have it. Then you show up for Thanksgiving at grandma and grandpa’s and pass COVID around like the table as if it were second helpings of stuffing. Unless the unvaccinated stay home and ride the pandemic out, “you do you, and I’ll do me” is a dangerously selfish philosophy.

Crossley is not alone in her vaccine disdain. Several other readers expressed similar outrage over my column and skepticism over the government-promoted belief the COVID vaccine is absolutely safe for adults or kids.

“Have you ever heard of VAERS?” snarked Len Reuschel, of Mount Holly, referring to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System the CDC monitors to track vaccine safety. “I’m guessing you haven’t. Look it up. They found almost 15,000 people died from the vaccine so far. That’s why I’m against it. It could kill you.”

All that's missing from Reuschel’s fairy tale are three little pigs and the big bad wolf.

Here are the facts: The FDA requires health care providers to report any serious adverse event, including death, that occurs after a COVID vaccination, whether or not the provider believes there’s any link. That means if a vaccinated person drowns, dies in a car crash, is struck by lightning, or gets eaten by an alligator trying to fish an errant golf shot from the water’s edge on hole No. 5, it’s reported. What a croc, er, crock. The data is extremely flawed.

A story at nebraskamed.com labeled VAERS the Wikipedia of data reporting. Anyone can report anything without proof. An example, an anesthesiologist successfully submitted a VAERS report several years ago that the flu vaccine had turned him into The Incredible Hulk. Incredible indeed.

Of more than 442 million doses of COVID-19 shots administered in America through Nov. 15, VAERS received 9,810 reports of death, or 0.0022 percent, among those vaccinated. Twenty-two ten-thousandths of 1 percent. The percentage is so incredibly low it barely registers, and that’s including the drownings, lightning strikes, deaths by reptile, and all those folks who died of underlying conditions not caused by vaccination.

Unfortunately, some people will never get it. Never trust the science. Never worry about anyone but themselves. The reasons are many. To explain one, I'll borrow a line from Crossley herself:

They’re not done developing.

Phil Gianficaro, a columnist for the USA TODAY Network, can be reached at 215-345-3078, pgianficaro@theintell.com, and @philgianficaro on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Burlington County Times: Unfounded fears lead parents not to COVID vaccinate young children