VOICES: Making your own decision about COVID vaccinations

Like most people, I must work to make sense for myself about COVID vaccinations and protocols. I am not a medical expert nor am I an expert to understand the tons of information on the internet. Talking to many friends about this has shown I am not alone. But several things have become apparent to me through my own inquiries into making big decisions as a series of questions I ask myself.

Who and What do I believe/trust and Why?

I have to place my trust in someone or thing to make important decisions on things I know little about. There are many fervent advice-givers. So I ask myself what background expertise is there in this person or data? Where did it come from? Is it based on deep understanding or is this opinion in any way tainted by another agenda that is driving the advice?

In my own circle of friends and experts, it is easier to judge especially if I have known someone a long time and have a strong sense as to the basis of their advice. Is their advice based on real-life experience and facts? Or do they tend toward unfounded opinions, fears or have some ax they grind in life?

Online it is harder to judge as there is so much misinformation disguised as legitimate. I look at fact-checking tools like Snopes.com or educational research institutions that host websites on topics like healthcare, they usually end in “.EDU.” I also Google specific questions I have and look for solid unbiased statements.

What preexisting beliefs or fears do I already have?

Please note that I automatically assumed I already have pre-existing opinions. I am human, it comes with the package. It helps me to realize when searching for an answer whether I already have my answer and am just looking for ammunition to defend it. And am I willing to set it aside to have an open mind to make a decision on today’s situation?

Who will I piss off if I make my decision this way or that?

Big decisions are often not really my own, there are consequences to some choices that can be difficult to bear if someone close to me will be disappointed if do X or Y. Being aware of it in advance, I may have to plan for how to deal with it if this is truly going to be my own choice.

I don’t live in a vacuum

We live like we have autonomy in our individual lives, the truth is we live amid others. What we decide and how we go about it will affect others. This is especially true of practicing (or not) COVID protocols like mask-wearing or social distancing. I find I must stay alert through my daily routines when and where to keep myself safe by intervening in situations with others. My motto: Be safe and be nice.

The big influencers

I was raised in a very religious family and community. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I left that environment. While that upbringing formed who I am in life, it also means I inherited notions of decision-making that echo in me today.

Knowing that I carry this predisposition with me helps me see if I am really making a freely informed consent or not. Political affiliations also carry similar group mindsets that we swim in.

Make your choice and then make it right

Stand behind it, believe in your process that got you there. BUT stay open to new information and evidence. That’s life! No regrets but stay away, change is always constant!


Marty Wessler is a resident of Lawa‘i

  1. RGLadder37 July 29, 2021 1:57 am Reply

    Do you always write as a template?

    1. Marty wessler July 30, 2021 11:53 am Reply

      Thanks for your comment, it’s good to get to know you!

  2. RGLadder37 July 29, 2021 2:09 am Reply

    When I like a candidate I simply state it. Or dislike a candidate.

    For example, I voted for Donald Drump because he’s better than Bernard P. Carvalho jr. or I voted for Tulsi Gabbard because she’s better than Derek Kawakami. She’s for military. That simple.

  3. RGLadder37 July 29, 2021 2:36 am Reply

    I’m for you. You seem to want to write. Not clear is why you write. If you dislike a candidate, just say it. That guy is dumb and a flunkout in high school. I’ll back you up. That is how writers work.

    1. righter... July 30, 2021 7:07 am Reply

      “That is how writers work.”

      No, it’s not. Writers do nuance because nuance ‘fleshes out’ lifeless statements like your 3 comments.

  4. james July 29, 2021 6:54 am Reply

    And your point is?

  5. Robert Weiner MD July 29, 2021 7:19 am Reply

    I’m hoping, Marty, that you decided to get vaccinated. The vast majority of science points in that direction. The vast majority of cases of Covid are now occurring in non vaccinated people. When a vaccinated person does catch the Delta variant, they do not become very sick and do not usually wind up in the hospital. Most if not all the Covid cases now at Hilo and Wilcox Hospitals are non vaccinated. Do the right thing Marty and get vaccinated and let us know if you got any side effects from the vaccine.

    1. Question for Dr. W July 29, 2021 5:07 pm Reply

      What is your experience with mRNA “vaccines” it’s been recommended that there are a group of individuals who should not take this due to a high probability of serious and potentially life changing side effects. As a doctor of medicine how are you legally and ethically allowed to recommend a medical procedure as a blanket statement with no regard for medical history of that individual. I appreciate your input on the public forum. But you should consider unsolicited medical advice for you patients. Marty, well said. I appreciate your reasoning and thought process.

      1. Robert Weiner MD July 30, 2021 6:54 am Reply

        Dear “Question for Dr W”
        There is no special group of people who should not take the mRNA vaccine. There is a rare person who has had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, but we did not see this.
        The vast majority of the population will be protected by these vaccines. I not only recommended them to all adults, but I took part in administering them at the Convention Center. I have a listed phone as a practicing physician on Island since 1976 and have heard of no “life changing side effects”. My wife is still helping with vaccine administration at Wilcox.

      2. Marty Wessler July 30, 2021 1:06 pm Reply

        Aloha and thank you for voicing your opinions on an important topic on our small island.

    2. Marty Wessler July 30, 2021 12:58 pm Reply

      Aloha and thank you for your comments Dr Weiner.

  6. LMat July 29, 2021 9:04 am Reply

    Marty, I agree with your sentiments. I too am a critical thinker, I tend to [over]analyze everything. “Trust no one. Question everything,” as my fave Fox Mulder would say.
    I think, however, that the question on getting the vaccine is a no-brainer at this point. Are there risks? Yes, some very rare side-effects have been documented. Perhaps potential unknown long-term side-effects… Heck, the government endorses it, so I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole… But what are the risks with getting Covid? DEATH. Over FOUR MILLION worldwide. I just don’t see the debate at this point.

    1. Michael July 30, 2021 5:40 am Reply

      This kind of critical thinking is flawed. Think of society and not yourself. The non-vaccinated are ripe targets for the Delta COVID variant. Those of you who aren’t vaccinated and claim “I’m healthy”, are missing the point. It is you who are now responsible for the seriousness of this phase of the pandemic. A recent encounter with a non-vaccinated (and proud of it) Kauai resident at the YMCA made the point. Her defense was, “I’m healthy, I’m OK”. How selfish. Get vaccinated and be part of the solution and not THE PROBLEM!

    2. Marty Wessler July 30, 2021 12:59 pm Reply

      Aloha Lmat, thanks for your comments, it is good to hear from you.

  7. IRENE STANEK July 29, 2021 9:11 am Reply

    Like most people, you are missing the real concern. The vaccine (not really a vaccine at all) is approved as EXPERIMENTAL. Much more should be done to fully approve it to allay the concerns of those who chose not to do it at this time. If you are an average person, average age with no preexisting conditions, this fact is HUGE! Once it is fully approved, I think you will see a large spike in those having it.

    1. really July 29, 2021 3:45 pm Reply

      Cite your sources or stop the lies.

      1. truthbeknown August 1, 2021 4:43 pm Reply

        “Really”, I’m curious, what statement did Irene make that you consider to be a lie? Perhaps you should be the one to “cite your sources”. I assure you, everything she said can be fully backed up in the “vaccine” producers own literature.

        1. really August 2, 2021 3:47 pm Reply

          Cite your sources. If they are credible and true, perhaps that would sway me.

          I noticed you also left out any citations.

    2. Marty Wessler July 30, 2021 1:01 pm Reply

      Aloha Irene, thanks for your points of view, it’s good to get to know you.

    3. Marty Wessler July 30, 2021 1:03 pm Reply

      Aloha Michael, thanks for your comments, it is good to hear another point of view on our small island we all live on.

    4. truthbeknown August 1, 2021 4:28 pm Reply

      Irene, thank you for expressing the concerns of we who have yet to be convinced that being vaccinated with the experimental mRNA “jab” is a good thing. We have taken the opportunity to research beyond the government narrative and have decided to take a wait and see attitude for now. As more and more cases arise of injuries and death from taking the vaccines, the future doesn’t look promising for the vaxxers. I’m quite content with a 99% survival rate myself, coupled with early treatment procedures at my disposal.

  8. Will G July 29, 2021 8:51 pm Reply

    smh…just get the damn shot already!

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