Omicron Action | Reed Perkins

The new COVID variant Omicron is on the way, and at this point this whole situation is as predictable as it was avoidable. As long as there are vulnerable hosts for the virus, it is going to continue to mutate. Globally, we still have two massive host populations.

The first is anti-vaxxers. This includes, as much as they sometimes object to being labeled as such, people who are refusing the vaccines on the principle of You Can’t Make Me. It’s both well within their rights and morally fucking reprehensible; I just don’t have any more time for them right now.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Wear it correctly.

The second group is composed of populations that have been ignored for vaccine distribution. These are largely colonized nations which much of the planet continues to treat as if they don’t exist. If we don’t start a strong push to get the vaccine to these populations, in the same way we successfully pushed polio and smallpox vaccine initiatives, we will never be rid of this thing because there are always going to be isolated rural populations that a new variant can spring from.

Gerry Shepherd
©2021

It is simple to place all of the blame for Omicron on Group 1, but the virus makes no distinction between the two. There is a whole group of historically sidelined people who would actually welcome the help, and we both could and should center their needs. This forces some difficult introspection though, because we can easily place the blame on members of Group 1 and their personal refusal, but the responsibility for the vaccination rate of Group 2 lies largely with our own inaction.

According to Gordon Brown, WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing, “This inequality is simply explained: 89 percent of all vaccines have been bought by the G20, the world’s richest countries, and today they retain control of 71 percent of future deliveries. Promises from the Global North to gift vaccines to the Global South have fallen short: only 22 percent of the donations promised by America have been sent. Europe, the UK and Canada have performed considerably worse and have dispatched only 15, 10 and 5 percent respectively.”

[Ed. Note: An article in the December 19 New York Times provides another dimension of this inequity—”…only the Pfizer and Moderna shots, when reinforced by a booster, appear to have initial success at stopping infections, and these vaccines are unavailable in most of the world.” —Stephanie Nolen, “Most of the World’s Vaccines Likely Won’t Prevent Infection From Omicron]

COVID-19 needs to teach us collective responsibility and global perspective. This plague is still going on because of all of us.

You matter.

As Omicron takes over the news, you’re going to see conversations that center on Group 1. Try to find a way to bring up Group 2 as well. They’re left out of important discussions due to ignorance more frequently than out of malice, and we can correct that. You could also try to write to your Senator or Representative asking them to spend more resources on global vaccine initiatives, or if you have the resources, consider donating to groups like Doctors Without Borders or the GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Wear it correctly.

You matter.


Essay ©2021 Reed Perkins
All rights reserved

One thought on “Omicron Action | Reed Perkins

  1. Reed, you are singing my song and the song of millions of thinking individuals, who are capable of critical and dare I say scientific thinking. The additional threat from Group 1, the anti-vaxxers, is that they potentially carry a much higher viral load with them making them much more of a lethal weapon. For me they are guilty of culpable homicide. But you are right about Group 2. We simply have to divert the vaccines to those vast populations that truly need it. Well written, Reed and thank you for submitting it to the BeZine.

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