An advertisement for a trip in May 2022 to Israel and the West Bank

The word “vaccinated” appears so often now that the shorthand spelling “vaxxed” is widely used. However, spellcheck wants to make it into the word “vexed.”

That got me to thinking about how getting vaxxed just as soon as possible was an eager and strategic effort for many of us — and the fact that others still will not get protected from the COVID-19 virus is so vexing.

We were excited over the emergence of these vaccines, tested in trials in which some friends participated. So, early on we checked to see if and when we met the qualifications and called or searched online for the first available appointments.

For me, it meant happily driving an hour to and then from Athens, Georgia, to take advantage of the earliest appointment I could find anywhere within 100 miles. I did so, like many others, to protect myself, as well as those around me, from a most-deadly virus that has destroyed lives and life as usual.

It is quite vexing, however, that so many others have not done likewise for their own benefit and the common good — despite overwhelming evidence that the vaccines work very, very effectively.

The adjective “vexed” can refer to an issue that is contentious — as well as the state of being annoyed, frustrated or worried.

All of those definitions apply to the current situation in which the virus in variant form has come storming back — and the feelings many of us hold toward those with seemingly no regard for science, themselves or others (including the health care professionals who are unnecessarily reliving the daily grind of attending to those who suffer and too often die from this disease).

I’m vexed that so many people — especially those who claim personal faith — get their information about life and death matters from unreliable sources when reliable ones are aplenty.

I’m vexed about what those who claim to believe in God will believe about almost anything else with no basis in fact.

I’m vexed that Sunday school teachers who drill the Golden Rule into young heads turn out not to believe it applies to themselves.

Alex Azar, who headed Health and Human Services for the Trump administration, seems quite vexed too. He oversaw Operation Warp Speed, the monumental effort to develop vaccines to counter the pandemic as soon as safely possible.

The success of that effort, he said, was a defining accomplishment of the previous administration. He urged, in an article in The New York Times, “all party leaders and conservatives to double down on encouraging vaccination.”

It is vexing to hear of persons who find it necessary to seek out secretive ways of getting vaccinated in order to avoid social isolation from their families and friends. Such social environments are clearly as abusive as the worst kinds of cults.

Azar sought to remove politics from the vaccination debate, but it might be too late for that. Large-scale, politically motivated hesitation and outright opposition continue.

Self-serving political opposition — often by those who are vaccinated themselves but won’t admit it or encourage others to do so — does seem to be waning a bit in some places. Perhaps killing off one’s own support base is not as good of a strategy as first thought — as well as being unimaginably evil.

One of the great challenges throughout history has been the ability to “get the word out.” Now that worldwide communication is instantaneous, the challenge is how to get people — good-hearted people — to distinguish between that which is false and intentionally designed to mislead and that which is factual, beneficial and consistent with the good values one has long claimed.

Being vaxxed is good. Being vexed is a natural reaction when truth and goodness seem so expendable.

Despite mounds of data and personal testimonies of the vaccines’ effectiveness, it is amazing and troubling that so many people are still pondering: Should I take a marvel of science that is remarkably effective in preventing persons from dying from this disease that has killed more than 600,000 Americans and millions worldwide? Or not?

In rural Georgia, an example drawn sadly from many available examples, I read of a kind-hearted woman not yet 60 who died just recently. The obituary revealed a lifetime of faith and service.

Her daughter, grieving this unnecessary loss, told how her mother had listened to political and religious leaders who claimed COVID-19 was a hoax used to gain control. She believed those false claims over the urging of loving family members and the consensus of medical science.

The woman’s realization of such misplaced trust, her daughter said, “came too late.”

Why do you write this, you might ask?

I have family and friends who have been misled and are risking their lives and others; they have mistakenly looked to those who gain power and profit from dispensing misinformation.

And, therefore, I’m concerned; I’m vexed.

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