Opinion — Making an educated decision

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021

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Last Monday, I was making baked chicken for dinner. When the oven timer went off, I pulled the bird out the oven and sliced it down the middle. It was still a little pink inside. I’m no chef, and I had no idea if this was a bad thing or not. I did not call Mom for her advice. I did not consult The Joy of Cooking. I just ate the chicken. I know best.

On Tuesday, my car started making this funny noise. As I was driving down Main Street, smoke began billowing up out of the hood. I don’t know anything about cars, but I decided to not do anything about it. I didn’t take it to a mechanic. I didn’t even talk to Dad. I just drove it home. I know best.

On Wednesday, a funny-sounding man called me to say he was from the IRS and that I owed $1,000 in unpaid taxes and that the police would come to my house and arrest me if I didn’t pay up, even though I’ve always paid my taxes. I didn’t look up phone scams on the IRS website. I didn’t even call a lawyer. I just paid up because I know best.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, on Thursday, I got a giant mustard stain on my favorite white sweater. But I didn’t read the back of the tag or even the label on the detergent jug. I didn’t take it to a dry cleaner. I just threw a little bleach in there and turned the washing machine on. I know best.

OK, so, in actuality, none of these things happened to me. Yes, I don’t know anything about cars, but I know how to pull over on the side of the road and call my dad. I am way too sharp to eat anything with mustard on it while wearing white. The IRS will never ask for money over the phone, and I’d eat my own shoe before eating undercooked chicken. (165 degrees fahrenheit, people!)

I know what I’m knowledgeable about, and I also know where that knowledge ends. There are people in this world that know a lot more about some things than I do — mechanics, hair stylists, college professors — sometimes, it’s important to seek the opinion of others who are more well-versed in a subject than yourself in order to make an educated decision.

If you have decided against getting the COVID-19 vaccine or have decided against allowing your child to get the vaccine but have not yet spoken with your doctor, your child’s pediatrician or a member of the health department, you are making an uneducated decision.

It’s your choice to get the vaccine or to decline getting immunized. You have bodily autonomy, and that decision is up to you. I’m not saying you’re a fool if you don’t get vaccinated. But I must stress that any research you’ve done while scrolling Facebook or other corners of the internet does not hold a candle to the insight a real medical doctor can provide.

I respect anybody’s individual choice to do what they feel is best for themselves and their family, but that respect ends abruptly when that person doesn’t seek a professional opinion. Would you take a gamble with eating poultry you weren’t sure was cooked enough? Would you take a gamble that the smoke trailing from your engine is normal? No? Then why gamble with your health and safety or the health and safety of your family?

My advice to you is to consult your doctor or a local health professional about the vaccine. Not your local Facebook moms group, not your weird uncle, not even your best friend, unless your best friend happens to be a medical doctor. Ask the person who knows more than you. If you’re still unconvinced, the choice is up to you, and I will respect that choice because I know you went through the effort of reaching out.

We don’t know everything, but all of us have a lot of knowledge to provide about certain things. I don’t know very much about how the human body works or what’s going on under my car’s hood. I do know a lot about how to cook a mean piece of chicken.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa.Massey@KVDispatch.com.