We've spent a year trapped in a nightmare. We've seen a half-million people die in the U.S. We've watched the places we've loved boarded up and bankrupted. We've gone crazy inside — locked down, shut in and fed up. And we've watched the world go crazy outside — a soaring murder rate, riots, insurrection and Instagram videos of people screaming at Walmart greeters about masks.
The good news is this is the kind of nightmare you can pinch yourself and wake up from. All we have to do is tap our heels together three times, poke your arm once or twice, and we can all go home again. The problem is that to truly banish the nightmare — to stop the deaths, free the businesses, get rid of the masks — everyone has to join in the ritual. Whether because of fear, misinformation or simple procrastination, a huge chunk of the Inland Northwest hasn't been vaccinated.
Three weeks after vaccines opened to everyone over 16 in Spokane County, only 45 percent of those eligible have had their first shot. We've had over 3,400 new COVID cases since April. Last week, we almost got banished back to Phase 2. Yet open vaccination slots are abundant.
And so we're desperate: Maybe shaming doesn't work, but if there's just a chance it does, we will wag our finger until we get carpal tunnel. Maybe insults are ineffective, but we're trying everything, dumbass. If there's even a possibility that rhyming slogans will convince you, then dammit, we'll tell you to cross your heart, avoid the harm, stick a needle in your arm. We've assembled every argument we could think of — from appeals to science and emotion to celebrity and absurdity — that could move the needle to move more needles.
This list was reported and written by Daniel Walters, Wilson Criscione, Samantha Wohlfeil, Nathan Weinbender, Chey Scott, and Dan Nailen — every one of them fully or partially vaccinated.
1. You're either on #TeamVaccine or #TeamCOVID-19.
There's no third party, no option C. One wins, or the other does. The question isn't whether you'd prefer to take the vaccines, like, recreationally. It's whether you prefer to eventually get COVID — and more importantly — whether you'd prefer to unknowingly spread it to someone else.
So who are you going to trust? The new guy who you don't know very well but has 90 percent support? Or the serial killer who has murdered millions?
2. COVID-19 vaccines are free.
That's a hell of a deal.
3. The vaccines really are that good.
Pfizer and Moderna prevent anywhere from 85 to 95 percent of symptomatic infections, while Johnson & Johnson prevents around 72 percent. With another study showing Pfizer and Moderna were 90 percent effective against even asymptomatic infections, the chance of a vaccinated person spreading the virus is extremely low.
Where vaccines really thrive is when everyone in the room is vaccinated. Think of it this way: Condoms are 85 to 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. But if both partners are wearing condoms, pregnancy is essentially impossible.
4. But they're not perfect. Which is even more of a reason to get them.
There are millions of people who still may not be fully protected after vaccination. The elderly. The immunocompromised. Cancer patients.
That's the whole point of herd immunity: When enough people get vaccinated, the virus fades away, and we protect even the handful of holdouts who can't get the shot. In other words, choosing not to get the vaccine doesn't just put you at risk. It endangers others.
5. It's never been easier to get vaxxed.
The days of needing to play wifi roulette to have a chance of getting a vaccine appointment are long gone. You can call 1-800-VAX-HELP or just walk up to a clinic like Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid. In North Idaho, the vaccines can even come to you! Panhandle Health District has started a mobile vaccine clinic that serves local businesses directly.
6. Tell the haters you'll eat as much free Krispy Kreme as you damn well please.
When Krispy Kreme announced that it would give a free doughnut every day this year to anyone who flashed their vax card, you had plenty of wet blanket health scolds whining about how "uhhh, doughnuts are baaaad for you."
Look lady, we've been through hell. We got vaccinated, but we're not some health nut. We're more than happy to go out in a glaze of glory.
7. We didn't rush COVID-19 vaccine testing — we folded the fabric of space-time.
Well, sorta. Even before COVID-19 showed up, scientists put in years of work on messenger RNA, creating technology that lets them essentially plug in the genetic instructions from a new virus, quickly generating a vaccine without even needing to grow proteins in a lab.
From there, the U.S. slashed red tape, allowing early stages of the clinical trials of the vaccines to unfold simultaneously. Researchers were still held to rigorous safety standards. They just proved that they didn't need to do the first few steps in sequence — they can multitask just like you are, reading this while using the bathroom.
8. You're not a guinea pig. You're a late adopter.
Bad news: Your chance to brag about how you saw Pfizer play the Kroc Center when they were still underground has long since passed. By now, the COVID vaccines have sold out to the man and gone mainstream. The world's already given out 1.2 billion COVID shots. That's enough time and a large enough sample size to catch even ridiculously rare side effects.
9. The FDA and CDC are big wusses about side effects, so you know they treat them seriously.
After the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution was brought to a screeching halt because of six serious blood clots out of nearly 6 million vaccines distributed, some were furious.
"With COVID cases still rising nationwide, it's sheer lunacy to delay millions of vaccinations and feed fears among the vax-resistant," wrote noted J&J vaccine groupie Donald J. Trump.
But however ill-advised the delay — which was later lifted — it shows that the feds care about even rare side effects so much they're willing to trash the reputation of an entire vaccine, throwing caution to the wind out of an abundance of caution.
10. You know what else causes blood clots?
You guessed it: birth control pills. But more relevantly: COVID-19. One study found that blood clotting risk after getting COVID was eight to 10 times higher than after getting a Pfizer or Moderna shot.
11. Short-lived vaccine side effects are normal, but not guaranteed.
Yes, as vaccines hit your immune system, it's not unusual to feel like Rocky just punched you in the arm. And some people have flu-like symptoms for a few hours, or a day or two. Others didn't have any side effects at all, beyond dry mouth and sporadic bouts of nostalgia.
12. You are stronger than the vaccine side effects. We believe in you.
OK, so maybe you think you're healthy, and there's no reason to be afraid of COVID-19. You mean to tell me that you are afraid of some vaccine side effects? A headache, maybe some temporary chills? As your high school gym teacher used to say, pain is just weakness leaving the body. Try+umph = Triumph!
13. Long-term side effects are unlikely.
With every single case in the past — from the polio vaccine to the yellow fever vaccine — vaccine expert Paul Offit explains, any serious vaccine side effect, including long-term side effects, have been identified within six weeks. But despite testing the vaccines for over a year, serious side effects have remained remarkably rare.
14. Spokane's William and Kat McGunagle both got vaccinated. Then they won a million dollars.
Kat McGunagle, who runs an early-childhood preschool out of her home, got her first Moderna shot at the Spokane Arena back in March. William McGunagle got his Johnson & Johnson shot on April 7 at Walmart. And then, just a few weeks later, Publisher's Clearing House's Prize Patrol showed up with a check for $1 million.
It's too soon to know for sure to know if these events are connected, but you can't be too safe.
15. The COVID-19 virus has not been officially approved by the FDA.
While some people are concerned that the COVID-19 vaccines have only been given an emergency use authorization so far, the COVID-19 virus doesn't even have that.
16. One of the side effects of COVID-19 is death.
More than 580,000 Americans are dead. All the masks and the social distancing and the lockdowns and the handwashing almost eliminated the flu entirely — and yet COVID has already killed about as many Americans as 13 years of flu deaths.
17. The young and the reckless need the vaccines, too.
You kids these days, with your TikToks and your pogs and your Pokemons, may not think vaccines are "rad" or "to the max." But let me drop a "truth bomb," and give you the "411" on the "C-19."
COVID is "hella sus," even for "hep cats" like you. In Spokane, 55 percent of confirmed COVID cases in the county came from those under 40. So while those in their 20s and 30s don't die as often, they can be "superspreaders" who make the elderly "super deader."
Still think COVID is "sick"?
18. (VERIFIED PURCHASE) I tried COVID, and honestly, I hated it.
If I could give this virus a negative rating, I would. First off, it made my entire body hurt. Then it had the audacity to pretend to go away before the damn thing had me feeling like I was breathing through a coffee straw for six f—-ing days!
I'm young, what gives?
Get the vaccine instead. My first Pfizer dose only gave me six hours (not days) of a super sore arm and a headache that went away with Tylenol. It has even offered to take me to some of my favorite concerts later this year and get back to traveling again! So far this relationship is so much healthier (literally).
19. COVID can leave you broken hearted.
One study found 20 percent of recovered COVID patients — including young, healthy athletes who had no symptoms — had irreversible scarring on their heart.
20. COVID messes with your mind.
It's called "brain fog" and it can affect memory, attention span, and... did I say memory?
21. COVID can take your breath away.
Take it from a guy who was hospitalized twice for asthma as a kid: Lungs are one of the body's most important organs. Sure, you've got two of them, but when COVID attacks, it can ravage your lungs far deeper than the worst cold you've ever experienced. You can't breathe easy when you can't easily breathe.
22. COVID can make your scent sense senseless.
COVID could cost you some of life's greatest sensory pleasures: the smell of smells. A sweatshirt soaked in campfire smoke. Obsession by Calvin Klein. Popcorn at the movies. Dry-erase markers in second-period math class. The smell just before it thunders and just after it rains. The musky pheromones of Channing Tatum. Napalm in the morning. Whatever the Rock is cooking.
23. COVID gives you awful taste.
Imagine biting into a strip of bacon and tasting nothing. Imagine the same with strawberry-banana yogurt, foie gras and massaman curry. Balsamic vinaigrette. KFC's 11 herbs and spices. Wendy's fries dipped in a Frosty. Turkish delight. Sour Patch Kids. Even the taste of Tim's Cascade Style Jalapeño Potato Chips turns to ashes in your mouth.
Every food you try has become — like making jokes about COVID — completely tasteless.
24. COVID can cause, uh, *whispers* erectile dysfunction.
If there's one thing you ask of your 'rectile, it's to function. Yet erectile dysfunction is many times more common for those who've suffered COVID, particularly for men. So if your worries about the vaccine keep you up all night, feel grateful that at least something still can.
25. COVID can nibble at your toes.
Unless you're Tinky-Winky or the Grimace, purple is not the color that you want your toes to be. And yet, a number of COVID victims have reported their toes have turned red, then purple after contracting the virus. Sometimes there's a buildup of pus that would gross out even Quentin Tarantino.
26. COVID can haunt you — possibly forever.
COVID symptoms usually go away within a month. For 26-year-old Starbucks barista Alli Talmage, it's been more than nine. She still has it all: the brain fog, the high heart rate, the nausea, the headaches, the insomnia, the breathing problems. Some "long haul" COVID victims have found that vaccination helps finally exorcise COVID's ghost, though it hasn't for Talmage.
Better to use vaccines to stop you from being haunted to begin with.
27. COVID is a huge racist.
When COVID says "I'm not racist, but—" don't believe it.
COVID wants you to know that it has some really "interesting thoughts" on race and IQ. COVID's "edgy" Halloween costume got it kicked out of its sorority. COVID posts "ironically" on 4Chan. Compared with Whites, the COVID death rate as of mid-March was 24 percent higher for Hispanics, 38 percent higher for Native Americans, and 43 percent higher for Black people. It's not about biology, it's about society: These racial groups are more likely to live and work in places where they're more likely to be exposed.
28. New hit COVID variants keep dropping.
As if we were getting bored with the original model, COVID keeps desperately reinventing itself to try to stay hip and relevant. Some of the nasty new variants brought to us by COVID 2: The New Batch spread faster or further, and some seem to be deadlier. So far, the vaccines seem to be holding their own. But the longer we keep infecting one another with COVID strains, the more chances the virus has to develop into something meaner, uglier and more personal.
29. The vaccines do not have microchips in them.
I'm not the first to point out the irony of people using their iPhone to go to Facebook and post this conspiracy they found using Google to look up a video on YouTube. If tech companies wanted to track your every move, they wouldn't put a microchip into vaccines, they would be a tech company.
30. No, the mRNA vaccines don't mess with your DNA.
All that mRNA — or messenger RNA — does with a vaccine is train our immune system to recognize a tell-tale piece of the COVID virus, so we can fight against it. Then, like a wise and mysterious sensei, it disappears, having nothing more to teach us.
And even if it could break into the place in your cells where your DNA is stored, the mRNA in the vaccines doesn't have any of the tools necessary to mess with it. Your application to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters will have to wait.
31. The vaccines are vegan.
No eggs were used in this vaccine, and no veal.
32. Twitter user "Troll Toll 69 420" is not particularly qualified to comment on epidemiological medicine.
I'm sure if I keep arguing with him, I'll change his mind, though.
33. Talk to your actual doctor.
YouTube doctors may seem smart, with their lab coats and impressive degrees in subjects like "comparative literature" and "holistic astrology." But rather than listen to them, or even us, you should ask your real doctor about the vaccines. She helped you with your weird fungal thing — she could probably help you here, too.
34. The vaccine needles aren't actually that big.
A lot of media outlets love to illustrate their vaccine stories with gargantuan needles like the kind that Captain Ahab would use to inoculate Moby Dick. ("From hell's heart I jab at thee!")
The reality: Remember when you were in sixth grade and that one kid — the one who would eat anything for a dollar — kept clicking his mechanical pencil until the point got longer and longer and then he poked you with it? It's pretty much exactly like that.
35. If you're brave for your mom and you don't throw a tantrum, maybe we can go out for Dairy Queen afterward.
That'd be fun, huh, sport?
36. The vaccines are low-calorie.
They do have a bit of salt in them though — nobody wants an underseasoned vaccine.
37. Don't let Seattle win.
We get it. Spokane hates Seattle. They're always throwing fish at people, always sticking their gum on perfectly good walls, always going on and on about the opera and dinner parties and their radio show to their brother Niles.
But here's the thing: Seattle is kicking our unvaccinated ass. In King County, 65 percent of those eligible have had their first shot, compared with only 45 percent in Spokane.
So maybe, until we get our act together, Spokane should stop acting like "Seattle is dying" because of all the needles being used downtown and realize that Seattle isn't dying — at least not of COVID — because of all the needles being used downtown.
38. Not getting vaccinated is like a self-fulfilling conspiracy theory.
Imagine an evil cabal that plots to contaminate the water supply in a way that poisons mostly Republican communities. Yes, they know that 10 percent of Democrats will get sick, but 40 percent of Republicans will. Many will even die. That would be one of the all-time horrifying conspiracies, right? It would make 9/11 look like a fake moon landing.
To be clear: There's no conspiracy. But a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month showed that 40 percent of Republicans say they definitely or probably won't get vaccinated, compared with just 10 percent of Democrats. If we don't change that, a lot more Republicans will get sick and die. That's pretty horrifying, too.
39. MTFU. Be a patriot
Do the patriotic thing. Protect your family. Serve your country. Now it's time for every American to exercise their right to bare arms — and get an injection in those arms. We kicked Hitler's ass. We defeated the metric system. Now it's COVID's turn.
40. More Americans have died of COVID than every U.S. military combat death in every war for the last 150 years.
All the German machine guns and Nazi tanks and Viet Cong ambushes and insurgent IEDs combined didn't kill as many Americans in combat as this single bug did.
41. Stick it to the libs with the Trump Vaccine.
The liberal media mocked President Trump and "fact"-checked him for claiming that we'd have a vaccine available for every American by April 2021. Why, that kind of operation would have to proceed at warp speed to be possible, huh?
Sure, let them make jokes about "injecting bleach," instead of admitting he helped us get the injections that will actually save us. Let them pretend like Trump's team preordering 100 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine and spending $955 million on the Moderna vaccine didn't matter to the vaccine's quick development. You'll be over here trolling the Dems, by pushing conservatives to take Trump's vaccines until — like a miracle — COVID disappears.
42. The vaccines don't have anything to do with cellphone towers.
The only "5G" in this vaccine is "Goo Great at Guarding Grandmas and Grandpas."
43. Make Fauci obsolete.
Look, Dr. Anthony Fauci was cute at first, you say to yourself, but he's really overstayed his welcome. I don't blame you. But if enough people get vaccinated, COVID will cease to be relevant, and so will Fauci. Like Ken Bone, Snooki and the "Gangnam Style" guy before him, Fauci will fade from your consciousness.
Someday, perhaps, Mo Rocca will do a "hey, remember that Fauci doctor guy" riff in some distant I Love the '20s VH1 special, and you will remember. But only briefly.
44. We won't tell anyone if you don't want us to.
Maybe vaccines aren't cool in your hypermasculine world of high-octane street racers, dive-bar arm-wrestlers, or giant ox-befriending lumberjacks. That's fine. Get vaccinated, and we won't tell a soul. Pretend you're going out for a smoke and duck into the vaccination clinic. Explain away the Band-Aid as a hunting accident. Hide your vaccination card in your gun safe. Nobody will know.
But whenever there's a COVID outbreak at the Rusty Coffin Bar & Salvage Yard, you can quietly relax, knowing you're immune.
45. "Yes, I think Jesus Christ would advocate for people using vaccines and medicines to treat suffering and save lives."
That's not coming from some squishy liberal pastor who thinks that Jesus is just, like, a metaphor for mindfulness. That's from the right-wing Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son. Despite a lot of evangelical Christians being resistant, Graham points to the other vaccines distributed through his disaster relief agency, Samaritan's Purse, to show how protecting others is the Christian thing to do.
46. No fetuses were harmed in the making of these vaccines.
Pro-lifers don't have to worry. None of the vaccines have fetal cells in them. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested on cell lines that may have originally come from a single abortion — but that was way back in 1973 in the Netherlands. And considering the fact that the vaccines save lives of all ages, even Spokane's Catholic Bishop Thomas Daly — not exactly a radical pro-choice feminist — signed onto a letter with other Washington state bishops recommending the "faithful get the COVID-19 vaccine."
47. Vaccines won't cause infertility.
Clinical trials are still ongoing, but so far the pregnant women who've opted to get the vaccine are proving the vaccines are safe.
Among thousands of pregnant women who reported their COVID vaccine symptoms to the CDC, the rate of miscarriages or lost pregnancies was right in line with the national average of 10 to 15 percent.
48. COVID, meanwhile, might kill you if you're pregnant.
A global study of 2,100 pregnant women found that those who got COVID while pregnant were 20 times more likely to die than pregnant women who didn't get the virus. It also can add risk of preterm birth and pregnancy complications.
49. The vaccines do not include the Mark of the Beast.
The vaccines don't include an unholy mark branding you as a sworn servant of the Antichrist. Better luck next time, Satanists.
50. The vaccines turn risky business into safer business.
If a vaccine is 90 percent effective, that means you're 10 times safer than you were unvaccinated. Everyone can upgrade their risk tolerance. For a square like me, I now feel safe to do laundry maskless at my mom's house.
Imagine what it could look like for a daredevil like you, who was bar hopping before you were vaccinated. Would you go spelunking in Wuhan bat caves? Streak through Providence's COVID unit? Clean your ears with used COVID test swabs? Do bong hits off active ventilators?
51. Hate masks? Vaccines can set us free!
Yes, it doesn't hurt to be extra cautious around super old people. And it could take awhile before stores loosen their mask policies.
But even if you're a good, law-abiding citizen who dutifully straps on your seatbelt and bike helmet, getting a vaccine is a rare way to eliminate an annoying safety device. Picture it: the indoors, unobscured by glasses-fog.
52. You can still wear your mask if you really want to for some reason.
Yes, as caseloads fall and more people get vaccinated, masks make less and less sense. But if you've become accustomed to your face mask, nobody's forcing you to ditch it. Ignore the stares. If anyone asks why you still insist on the mask, just tell them to meet you under the Paris Opera House's chandelier and you'll explain everything.
53. The vaccines are gluten-free.
Unfortunately, as with most gluten-free things, they're quite flavorless.
54. Voluntary vaccinations prevent mandatory vaccinations.
You're not an anti-vaxxer, you say. You just don't want to mandate vaccinations, for purely philosophical reasons. Great! Convince as many people to get vaccinated voluntarily. If we hit herd immunity, the case for enforcement becomes a lot weaker.
55. The sooner we're all vaccinated, the sooner our phones can recognize our smiling faces again.
Isn't it annoying when you're paying for your groceries with Apple Pay, and Face ID doesn't recognize your mask so it makes you put in a passcode? Vaccines can help.
56. Take a vax selfie, rake in the Instagram likes.
You can only announce you've gotten engaged so many times on social media before you start getting fewer and fewer "likes." Social media algorithms are a fickle beast — one that loves I-just-got-vaccinated photos.
57. The vaccines do not cause a small flower to grow from your head.
You probably need to wash your hair more often.
58. Your favorite restaurants are sick of it.
Restaurant owners and hospitality workers are done with being the mask police, getting their hours cut, getting shut down by the governor, building makeshift patios in the dead of winter, laying off their staff, rehiring their staff (only to be laid off yet again), and risking their personal health and safety day in and day out.
"We need to keep moving forward," Spokane Hospitality Coalition co-founder and David's Pizza owner Mark Starr said at a vaccination clinic for hospitality workers last Thursday.
The coalition, founded last year to support restaurants during the pandemic, organized the clinic with the health district in less than a week. They even threw in a free slice of pizza for those getting the shot. Follow save509.com for future similar clinics.
"I won't rest until we get past the 6-foot social distancing," Starr says. "I want the Arena to open, I want the Podium to be in use. I want life back."
59. Convince all the fraidy cats to emerge from hiding.
Even a lot of vaccinated people are, understandably, skittish about returning to bars and restaurants with caseloads still so high. Before our local economy can truly return, we need to get COVID cases so low that even the most nervous Nelly feels safe partying again.
60. You can go to Baby Bar again.
It opened last week for the first time in over a year. Don't screw it up by getting COVID.
61. You can hug your Grandma again.
Think of all the tiny, individually wrapped hard candies you'll rake in as a result.
62. You can go to the gym again without worrying that sweaty grunting guy at the gym will give you COVID.
For a virus, he's the ideal host. Sweat dripping everywhere, he roars with each lift, exerting dominance over everyone with the guts to share a gym with this specimen. And with each roar, more aerosols that could infect you with COVID fill the muggy, suffocating weight room. Don't worry. If you're vaccinated, there's little to fear. Unless you ask the bench-pressing man if he's on his last set, that is.
63. You can attend in-person church again without feeling guilty that you might infect Mrs. Flunderson.
And get back to feeling guilty about the usual stuff: lust, greed, covetousness, tax evasion, etc.
64. You can make and then cancel plans with friends again.
As enjoyable as it is to catch up with old friends now that we can again, nothing compares to the utter ecstasy of relief that comes with making plans to meet up with them, and then canceling at the last minute.
65. You can hear the roar of the audience at the movies again.
There are few things more gratifying than seeing a great film in a packed house, surrounded by a like-minded crowd, everyone laughing and gasping in unison.
Think of the crowd pleasers coming this summer — Fast & Furious! James Bond! Space Jam! — that would be so much more fun to see with a sold-out opening weekend audience. Herd immunity could make that a reality again.
66. Let music live again.
Vanna Oh! musician Lindsay Johnston was scheduled to kick off her 30-stop blues-rock tour in April 2020. Instead, COVID pulled the plug, along with all her investment.
"There was definitely about half a year of bitterness," Johnston says.
If vaccination rates were to magically increase overnight and restrictions were loosened, live music would be the first thing Johnston returns to.
Musicians really, really, really want to play for audiences again. Let's bring back mosh pits, crowd surfing and merch booths. It'll be the encore that every music fanatic has been clamoring for.
"When I think about what I would do if COVID was over," Johnston says. "I would be at a sweaty punk show at Mootsy's."
67. Dolly Parton wants you to get vaccinated.
Singer, songwriter, actress, amusement park maven, fashion icon, philanthropist — Dolly Parton wears oh so many fabulous hats. Now she can add another feather to that bedazzled cap: scientific donor. After the country music legend provided $1 million to Vanderbilt University that helped fund testing for Moderna, Parton posted a video of herself getting a dose of her own medicine. As she sang in the clip: "Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vacciiiiine / I'm begging of you, please don't hesitate."
68. Imagine all the vaccinated celebrities.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson got the COVID vaccine! So did Nick Offerman, Queen Elizabeth, and Mitch McConnell. Lin-Manuel Miranda is not throwing away his shot, and neither is William Daniels (the guy who played Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World!).
When governor/terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger got vaxxed, he encouraged others to do the same: "Come with me if you want to live!"
69. Of course, not every celebrity got vaccinated.
Musician John Prine didn't get the vaccine. Neither did That Thing You Do songwriter Adam Schlesinger. Herman Cain and Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally both didn't get the vaccine.
To be fair, they probably would have been vaccinated. But COVID killed them last year, before they had a chance.
70. Get ready for the vaccinated-only seating section.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has already let religious organizations and outdoor sporting facilities expand their capacity limits to include sections exclusively for fully vaccinated people. Don't miss out on your chance to watch the Mariners lose in person.
71. COVID killed Shawn Cox's father.
So he stands there under a tree outside the group home, as the snow pours down, and places his hands on the blankets covering his dad. He doesn't know if his father — master of the dad joke, jovial to the end — can hear him on the gurney, but Cox still tells him he loves him, that he was a great dad, all the things you say when you know you'll never see someone again.
"We have this window right now, where we could put COVID in the rearview mirror," Cox says. "It's heartbreaking that we may miss this opportunity."
72. COVID killed Gail Golden's father-in-law.
He was admitted to the emergency room with COVID on Christmas Eve. He died three weeks later. He was a patriot — the true kind, not the loud bombastic kind, says former Inlander account manager Gail Golden, Flynn's daughter-in-law.
The vaccines, then, became something almost sacred for Golden.
"I remember getting very emotional getting my first shot," Golden says. "I said, 'This one's for you, Colonel.'"
73. COVID killed Frank Newman's brother.
Frank Newman, a Lewis and Clark high school teacher, remembers folding newspapers with his brother growing up. And he remembers the last phone call with his brother, a 59-year-old with cerebral palsy.
"He was saying, 'I just have to beat this COVID,'" Newman says. "He sounded strong. He sounded good. The next day I called. No answer."
His brother had been rushed to the ER and placed in a medically induced coma.
"And he was never able to get out of that," Newman says. "You just felt isolated and alone. It felt surreal. It didn't feel like it was happening."
74. We're probably underestimating the death toll.
Last year was one of the deadliest in recent history. The total death rate of Americans last year was as high as it's been since 1944; 16 percent more Americans died in 2020 than 2019, the biggest increase in more than a century.
You could blame it on COVID or social distancing or masks or shutdowns. It doesn't matter. The vaccine is how we get rid of all of it.
75. Vaccinate away Gov. Jay Inslee's pandemic powers.
Don't want the fate of Spokane's business openings to be at the mercy of Inslee's gubernatorial whims? End the pandemic.
76. Public health officials have had a rough year. Why not give them a win for once?
They always look so sad. Maybe if you got vaccinated it would cheer them up?
77. The vaccines do not summon the Babadook.
Studies show that the Babadook-per-capita levels are more correlated with grief than vaccination.
78. Look at how great Britain is doing.
While Europe crapped the bidet over a few blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine, the British kept calm and carried on. The result? By now, in Scotland, for example, 98 percent of those over 50 are vaccinated.
Today, England and Scotland have less than a fourth of the rate of new cases than we do.
79. We could be Israel.
Not in terms of getting perpetually condemned by the United Nations. In terms of Israel's massive vaccination campaign. By April 3, they'd vaccinated 90 percent of Israeli citizens over 65 and 72 percent of everyone over 16. The result? COVID is nearly completely defeated, deaths are rare, cases are low, and they're opening their economy again.
80. As long as people are unvaccinated, you're vulnerable. Look at Ferry County.
By early April, Ferry County in northeastern Washington thought it escaped the worst of COVID-19. The virus had barely touched them, and they had barely touched the vaccine.
Then, weeks ago, two large indoor events in the town of Republic — including a membership drive and karaoke night — launched an outbreak that has infected 10 percent of Republic's population with COVID. Local hospitals are full. At least one person has died.
Take it from Natalee Medina, the host of the karaoke superspreader event. She says she used to feel like COVID precautions were useless because there was no COVID in Ferry County. That's changed.
"It's not about politics guys. It's legit, like our neighbors and our family and our friends are getting sick, and some of them are dying," she says in a video she shared on her Facebook page.
And there are ways to change that, she says.
"One of them is getting your COVID vaccine," she says.
81. Already had COVID? You should still get vaccinated.
Yes, your body created some hard-won antibodies against COVID, which is great! But we don't know yet how long that natural immunity lasts. So doctors recommend you still get vaccinated to boost that immunity and keep yourself protected. Trump did it. You should, too.
82. For the millionth time, Robert, vaccines don't cause autism.
Dammit, Robert, we've been over this. Over 100 studies have been conducted, Rob, and they all found that there's absolutely no reason to think vaccines are remotely linked to autism.
83. Free up some hospital freezer space.
With all of those unused vaccines taking up room, where do doctors keep their frozen pizza?
84. Working from home sucks.
Maybe you like the monotonous days staring at a computer screen, isolated next to your kitchen trash can in your overpriced apartment, rarely speaking with your colleagues except for the awkward Zoom calls during which you half-heartedly pretend to understand one another. The rest of us? We're happy to get back to the office. Vaccines make that safer.
85. No seriously, Zoom is Hell.
At first, it seemed like a technological miracle.
But after more than a year, we're ready to turn Zoom off forever. It didn't take long to realize staring into your computer camera for hours on end is only meant for the selfie-obsessed. Suddenly, people were being judged for the backgrounds of their Zoom calls or for the books (or lack thereof) on their shelves, and forced to buy special lights so you didn't look like you're broadcasting from the bottom of a serial killer's well. Oh, and the camera adds 10 pounds? What great news for someone eating several loaves of sourdough each week!
Get the vax. Kill COVID. Kill Zoom.
86. You can gossip in the hall instead of the virtual hellscape.
Love to get a good gossip session in with your co-workers during the day? This last year that probably happened over Slack or another messaging platform, which, let's be honest, is nowhere near as satisfying as dropping your voice so you can hurriedly tell your co-worker the unbelievable thing Sasha just said about Matt.
87. Lips that are not vaxxed shall not touch mine.
Perhaps my lips, specifically, aren't persuasive. But what about the luscious lips of Bethany Guthwrilliger, who you had a huge crush on when you worked at Camp Spalding. Well, she just messaged you on Tinder asking you "pfizer, moderna or J&J? ;)"
Be ready to tell her that you bleed Pfizer Blue and would love to swap vaccination stories without swapping pathogens.
88. Your unfulfilling Tinder dates can happen at your favorite tiny bar again.
Cute internet guy turns out to be a jerk who just wants to talk at you all night? If we reduce hospitalizations enough that our tiniest bars are allowed to reopen, your favorite hole-in-the-wall bartender can give you those knowing eyes and an extra strong pour to get you through the fiasco.
89. One less "item" to list in those awkward "you may have, uh, contracted something with me when we hooked up" phone calls with your Tinder dates.
Fortunately, you do know how to solve a problem like gonorrhea.
90. Vaccinated people seem to be entirely immune to any ill-effects from chemtrails.
Funny how the "government" never seems to mention that.
91. Make the Inlander Great Again.
What happens to a plucky little alt-weekly newspaper funded by ads for things like music venues and restaurants when suddenly all the music venues and restaurants get shut down?
This happens: Our page counts have gotten thinner. Our staff has been on partial unemployment for months. We're sick of writing about COVID. Our annual Best Of section has been pushed to July.
So do us a solid. Stop the pandemic. End the Worst Of times, so we can bring back the Best Of times.
92. Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center is literally too busy dealing with COVID patients to participate in this list.
We asked Providence if a doctor on the front lines could talk to us about why you should get a vaccine. But the hospital has been filling up with COVID patients, and a spokeswoman says all the doctors are too busy to give us an interview. That kind of says it all though, right?
93. Do it for them.
Look, your mother, your brother-in-law, or your son didn't send a link to this list to you because they were certain it would convince you. They did it because they love you deeply and want you to be safe. And ultimately, that persistent love is a more powerful argument than any scientific study or anecdote we can cite. If anything can get through, that will.
Suck it up. Get it over with already.
95. Please, baby, please.
We're desperate, here. We're do-something-stupid desperate. We're grand-gesture-in-a-'90s romantic comedy desperate.
We're outside your bedroom window, holding up a boombox blasting the intro to Eminem's "Lose Yourself." We're rushing to the airport, getting on our knees, and asking you — before you make the biggest mistake of your life by getting on that plane — please, please, would you make us the happiest newspaper on Earth by honor of getting fully vaccinated?
We're just an alt-weekly, sitting on a coffee shop rack, telling you to go vax yourself. ♦