From conspiracy theories to false information, families across the country have been faced with the challenging task of persuading skeptical relatives to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano knows this all too well. He joined us to share a personal story about his dad and his decision to get the vaccine.
Arellano’s father has been good about taking care of his health, but he had his doubts when it came to the coronavirus.
“He has diabetes, so he takes care of what he eats, but when it comes to the coronavirus, that was not a thing for him. He did not think the coronavirus was real; then he thought it was a government conspiracy theory, then he said that we all have coronavirus and that we were all born with it. So, if it hits you, you cannot really do anything about it, so why wear a mask, why practice social distancing, and why wash your hands?” Arellano said.
For months, Arellano and his siblings tried to change their father’s mind about the dangers of COVID-19. Eventually, their father realized how present the coronavirus was in his world.
“One of the reasons my dad was so adamant about it was because he did not know anyone who had it. Still to this day, no one in my immediate family has passed away from the coronavirus, thank God, and very few people have contracted it. So, for my dad, if it is not in front of him, it does not exist. But, then in the fall, he started noticing people who had it. Then he started having people in his immediate life who passed away, and that is when he realized that it was not a conspiracy,” Arellano added.
Even though Arellano’s father agreed to get the vaccine, he almost changed his mind the day of his appointment.
“My sister made the appointment for him, amazingly in a half an hour here in Santa Ana, and we basically told him that he was going to get it. I think he was so shocked that we were able to get it for him that he agreed. So, I show up on Saturday morning, and all of a sudden, he says he no longer needs the vaccine because he has healthy blood, a positive outlook on life, and he said the vaccine had a chip in it to track him. Then, I told him that this was not about him; it was about his family. Then he said he would take it," Arellano said.
Once Arellano and his father arrived at the vaccination site, things went by quickly.
“The delay was small; it was as if we went to a regular doctor’s appointment. He had to provide two forms of identification; it was free, he chose to get it in his right arm, and they put it on him. He then waits for 15 minutes to see if there is an allergic reaction or becomes a Bill Gates-controlled zombie. None of that happened, so we went home, and he is going to get his second shot in late February,” added Arellano.
For those going through a similar situation as Arellano, his advice is to be patient and firm.
“At the end of my column, I told my dad that he has the last word. He said to tell everyone that 'doubting Lorenzo,' who is macho, country, and strong, took the vaccine because he loves his family. And if a 'doubting Lorenzo' can take it, then any skeptic should. There is no excuse about it. He admits that he was wrong and if he can be convinced, anybody else can,” Arellano said.