Good guinea pig, bad guinea pig

From Getty Images
From Getty Images

“So when are you getting your second shot?” I asked an old friend who I’ll refer to as “Molly”.

“Oh, I’m not vaccinating yet”, She answered.

Surprised, I asked her why not, assuming that she had a rare condition preventing her from accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. Since we’ve been besties for a couple of decades and her personality is generally bubbly and open, I was taken aback that I wouldn’t have known about her apparently serious ailment but I figured she must have reasons for guarding her privacy.

She shrugged, smiled and said, “I’ll just let the rest of you take the vaccine first and then, maybe next year, or the year after, I’ll consider”.

Now, I was more than taken aback.

I was furious.

The entire world is watching us here in Israel. More than a third of the population has been vaccinated in a matter of five weeks. At 52, I am exhilarated to have this opportunity that, unfortunately, remains unavailable to most of my parents’ generation in the United States and throughout the world.

I also acknowledge that, in all practicality, we are guinea pigs in a continuing experiment and such research comes with various ethical questions about consent, privacy and more. Nonetheless, in addition to the freedoms that I hope vaccination will afford me such as a mitigated risk of serious illness and the coveted “green passport”,  I am proud to be able to take a small part in this “giant experiment” to end the physical and economic havoc of these Corona Times.

In many respects, I embrace my “communal” guinea pig status.

However, as it turns out, many others, are choosing to opt out of this phase of the “experiment” and wait to see whether or not the rest of us grow tails or suffer some bizarre side effect.

I staunchly believe in free choice.

I also believe in consequences.

I am not willing to be “their” personal guinea pig.

I may choose to avoid socially meeting up with friends who are eligible, yet forego vaccination. I am a bit sad that I may lose friends but evidently, they don’t share my basic values and also don’t deserve to see my impressive new rainbow tail.

About the Author
Zimra was born in Budapest and grew up in New York City. She immigrated to Israel in 1994 and for the past two decades has worked with diverse for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Currently, she serves as a resource development expert on the Civics and Shared Education team at the Center for Educational Technology (CET) in Tel Aviv. Zimra is mother to 4 children, ages 12 to 21. Inspired by her 16-year old son Amit, a lower limb amputee, she is passionate about competitive wheelchair basketball and spends much of her free time rooting for her favorite teams. Today, she and her family are living in the Negev.
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