Getting vaccinated is an act of LGBTQ equality

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JCAA resident Suz Atlas getting her second vaccine dose from Mazzoni Center’s Jasmine Santana.

There’s an extremely simple, low-risk and high-reward thing you can do to help further LGBTQ equality: get a COVID vaccine. The upside to getting the vaccine is immense, both for people personally and for the whole community. And now that vaccines are much easier to be found and are open to all adults, every eligible person should make the appointment and get the pinch. 

Let’s start with the obvious: protecting yourself and people around you. The COVID vaccines are the most effective and practical way to prevent a person from getting and spreading of COVID-19. They also prevent severe symptoms in the rare instance that a vaccinated person gets the virus. But the effects go much farther that just a single person and their sphere of social contacts.

Eligible people getting vaccinated means a safer life for people who are immunocompromised or have health conditions that prevent them from getting the vaccine. It also means a safer life for people who have been vaccinated but have health conditions that pose a risk should they contact the virus (the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines are around 95%, but not 100% effective). A recent CDC report showed that LGBTQ people have a higher prevalence of health conditions — such as asthma, cancer, heart disease and kidney disease — that can lead to severe COVID-19 complications.

It’s in the best interest of everybody in the community to get vaccinated from a pure health standpoint.

Then there’s the economic standpoint. Getting vaccinated means being able to frequent LGBTQ businesses without having to worry about getting the virus. It means that you’re also helping to keep store employees from worrying about you spreading the virus. And it means that you’re helping those stores continue to stay open by contributing to the COVID-19 decline in the region and preventing another lockdown.

Getting vaccinated also means that eventually our LGBTQ nonprofits will be able to again host in-person fundraising events, which are a large source of funding for many organizations. There are organizations fighting for LGBTQ equality in the public health world, the businesses world, the education world, and many others, and they all suffered because of fewer fundraising opportunities last year. And, as PGN reported this week, getting vaccinated means that events like an in-person Philly Pride festival can happen this year (with certain health requirements).

Our community led the way in HIV/AIDS best practices. We taught the world the importance of testing and contact tracing. And once again, we have the ability to show people how to help beat back another pandemic. We have the ability to lead. 

So, if you are eligible, but wavering about whether or not to get the vaccine, consider how it will impact not just you personally, not just your immediate friends and family, but the entire LGBTQ community. It’s a very simple thing to do, and you’ll be able to say that you contributed in the fight for equality. It will be worth it a hundred times over.