Vaccine Refusers Risk Compassion Fatigue – Medical Professionals are Getting Fed Up With People Who Won’t Protect Themselves


After the horrors that health-care workers have endured during the pandemic, many are struggling to sympathize with people who won’t protect themselves.

The population-level rejection of COVID-19 vaccines is a different phenomenon—and one that’s much more personally threatening to my colleagues and me. By refusing the most effective intervention, people are risking not only their own life but the lives of many around them. That includes those who cannot get vaccinated—my children among them. Because of the choice that vaccine refusers are making, my job may again force me to avoid embracing my children.

“What makes me the maddest,” one of my doctor friends told me, “is that these people will reject science right until the second they need everything I have to keep them alive, and then they feel that they can come to our door and be entitled to that help and that hard work.” This friend is characterizing the inconsistency in the behavior she sees in people declining a vaccine but then demanding medical care based on the same science. That inconsistency feels, to her and to other dedicated medical professionals trying to survive this pandemic, very much like dishonesty.


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