Mixed messages about vaccines are only creating more questions

I am so confused.

And, unlike much of the lack of clarity I face today, it is more my “fault”, either due to the slow train of aging, advancing into oblivion, or the bullet train of technology. , which often leaves my mind in the dust. The source of my confusion lately seems to be totally out of my control and, in a way, much more frustrating.

All you seem to be getting lately are mixed messages.

Although I promised myself that I would never write about COVID again, let’s start there (after all, doesn’t it all start in the “new reality” with the pandemic?) First, at least here in North America, we are faced with a decision. about which vaccine to receive. The whole virus? Protein subunit? Viral vector? Nucleic acid? (And would you like that sliced ​​or sliced ​​free?). A dose or two? Maybe a mixed dose? Mixing two types of vaccines is dangerous. Wait, it’s actually safe. Wait again, it may actually be more effective….

Medical staff receive their third COVID-19 vaccination at the Meir Medical Center in Kefar Sava, on August 13, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI / FLASH90).

“Everyone gets one asap,” says Israel.

“Give only the Pfizer, and only those over 65,” says the United States.

“Booster? What’s a booster? Says Canada.

Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, new studies are released denying what the previous day’s study swore to be true. And every week, new variants are discovered that require new studies to be done on the new studies. The lack of clarity causes more anxiety than the illness itself.

And the rules! Not only are they confusing, but many are also nonsensical. Stay six feet away. Two feet away. Wear a mask. Only on the inside. If you are not eating or drinking. Only with another person. With up to ten people. No more than fifty people. It’s no wonder that many choose to simply continue watching Netflix on their couches rather than re-entering this complicated world.

But if you choose to really reintegrate into global society, nowhere are these mixed messages more confusing than in the realm of travel. Especially in my corner of the world, where the rules change daily. Americans can now cross the border into Canada, but Canadians cannot enter the US However, they can fly to the United States after submitting a negative COVID test. As a dual citizenship citizen, I am allowed to drive to the US and I do not need to present a test result. Except when returning to Canada. Initially, I had to take three tests to get back: one within 72 hours, the next immediately after crossing the border (in case I caught him in the car on my trip ?!), and the third after eight days . That came down to two tests, then one, along with the reduction, and eventual illumination, of an overly restrictive 14-day quarantine. And now Canadians have been told that they will soon be able to cross the border, with rules changing hourly about what vaccines will be accepted, what
Sting will be needed, and what quarantine, if any, will be mandatory.

For those of us who long to travel (back) to Israel, the ever-changing rules are almost impossible to follow. Americans are not allowed. Only if you have a very, very good reason to be there (or you have protekzia, someone who can help you slide). You must quarantine for 14 days. One week. But not at all if it arrives on a Monday or Thursday between 4 pm and 6 pm OK, I admit I did that last one. But I did not make up the latest rules, which I just found on an official Israel tourism website: “Groups of five or more tourists will be allowed in Israel as of September 19, 2021. This means that groups of five or more (families, friends, etc.) can travel together. If you want to visit Israel but there are less than five people, individuals or couples, you can join special packages for groups that comply with the rules from October 2021. There are currently no set dates for the dates that individual travelers will be able to enter to Israel without restrictions. “

Hey? I thought it was safer to travel alone, not with other people, especially strangers in a random group that they ask me to join. And does it have to be an actual group tour where they force me to go to the Kotel and Moshe’s Rug Shop instead of hanging out with my Israeli friends and relatives on the beach in Tel Aviv? Anyway, I’m sure by the time you read this the rules will have changed again anyway.

Okay, initially I said this was not just another column on COVID. No, this was intended to be a reflection on the anxiety produced by mixed messages. And how that is more evident nowhere than in Israel, whose actual existence in the modern world seems to be based on a lack of clarity.

“Sure, Jews, they can have their own state. I’m just not sure what to do with the Arabs who live there now. “

“Of course you have a right to your historical homeland that you won fairly in battles that you did not create. But you can’t really occupy that land. “

I could go on, but you got the point. It truly is a miracle that Israelis over the decades have not only been able to function, but have made incredible strides in all areas, given the potential paralysis caused by the fear of taking a wrong step, doing the wrong thing, thinking in wrong thinking.

This really caught my eye the other day as I was watching a fascinating new documentary, Reaching for Zion, which examines the evolving roots of the relationship between Rastafarian and Judaism. The film’s host, Donisha Prendergast, Bob Marley’s granddaughter, explores shared symbols such as the Star of David, the Lion of Judah, and the 12 Tribes of Israel. In one scene, he visits Kibbutz Tze’elim in the Negev and talks to one of its residents, Yael Maimony, a theater and festival producer.

He says: “Last year we had a war, the children play outside and the soundtrack is a war. You hear the planes, you hear the bombs, and you feel like everything is fine. But not everything is going well. This is life in Israel. These extreme realities of your life and community and peace, and the war on the other side is happening. With the children on the other side being killed and… we are the strong ones. You don’t know what to feel … feel sorry for them, happy not to be on the other side. But you cannot be attached to what is happening either because you are not in favor of war, you do not want a war. So where are you at? Where do you put yourself? What are you? I do not have the answer “.

Too many questions, too many unclear answers. I hope we can all sleep well tonight.

The writer, who lives in Toronto, can be reached at [email protected]


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