Michael Macbean wasn’t excepting his family to overstep their boundaries when vaccines became available to his age group.
The 31-year old Mississauga man woke up to a text message saying a vaccine was booked on his behalf by his brother despite not giving consent for him to use his health card or booking him for the shot.
Macbean’s mother and partner were first to get vaccinated when the Pfizer-BioNTech shot became available to their age group. Keeping up with his traditional Friday night visits to his mom’s house in Mississauga, Macbean and his fiancee found themselves talking about the vaccine.
“I told them my views on the vaccine and that I wasn’t not going to be taking it at this time. My mom let it go for a bit, but after it became available to those 30 and older, everything changed,” Macbean said.
Over the next several days, Macbean received text messages from his mother on booking the vaccine and told him to consider his nephew when making the decision.
“I couldn’t believe my nephew, who is a young toddler, was being used as leverage for me to get the shot,” Macbean said.
However, Macbean stood his ground and said no to his mother that he will not be getting the vaccine at this time.
The next day Macbean was shocked when he woke to see a message from his brother saying a vaccine was booked on his behalf.
“I felt like my family was treating me like a child and not allowing me to chose for myself,” Macbean said.
Family politics over vaccines have left family members who are not taking the vaccine at the moment or are hesitant, waiting for further research before taking it to be shunned by family members who are getting vaccinated.
Doug Ford’s provincial government announced on Dec. 31, 2021, that the COVID-19 vaccines were not mandatory, and people would have the choice to take the shot or not. There has been no further update on how those unvaccinated will be treated in communal spaces.
“There isn’t enough research done on the vaccines for me to feel safe taking it right now. I’m a very healthy young man, and I think those with worse health conditions should have the vaccines first,” Macbean said.
Macbean’s actions in turning down his family’s request to get vaccinated led to his young nephew being used as leverage in the sense that if he chooses not to get the COVID-19 shot, he will no longer be able to see him.
However, throughout the pandemic, Macbean has seen his nephew and works as an essential worker at Costco in the Human resources department. His family gave him an ultimatum after vaccine rollouts were announced.
“My brother and sister-in-law are also essential workers. They could have also put my nephew at risk, but at no point has there been any studies of children aged three dying,” Macbean said.
“I felt manipulated and pressured into putting something into my body that I don’t trust,” he said.
His brother and sister-in-law also travelled to the Dominic Republic and the Philippines during the pandemic. Still, Macbean said as soon the vaccines became available, his brother’s demeanour changed.
“Since the vaccine rollout, families have been separated from their loved ones because of vaccine politics. Why can’t I chose not to put something I don’t trust into my body and be hated for it?” Macbean said.
Macbean believes as a young adult with a healthy immune system and who takes care of his body, he should have the choice not to take the vaccine. He has maintained a healthy diet and exercise and has not gotten even a cold throughout the pandemic.
He would also like to see further research done as to what long-term effects the COVID-19 vaccines.
In a report released by Health Canada, side effects were reported common among vaccine recipients.
“They are mild or moderate and transient, resolving within a few days. These include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever,” the report said.
“In clinical trials of mRNA vaccines, some adverse events, including fever, are more frequent after the second dose; this was not the case with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine,” it said. “There is currently minimal evidence to inform on differences in vaccine efficacy, effectiveness or safety between individuals with.”
Health Canada reported on May 14 that 5,488 people reported receiving one or two symptoms after receiving the vaccine. The Canadian Medical Association also answered questions about side effects while Ontario doctors urge taking the vaccine.
The AstraZeneca vaccine had created further hesitancy when the shot was linked to rare, potentially fatal blood clots, and on May 25, Ontario reported its first fatal death as a result of the shot. The news comes after the province lifted the temporary suspension of the vaccine.
“I’m not anti-vaccine, but I am concerned how fast these vaccines became available and what little research has been done,” Macbean said. “There is a lot about the vaccine that I am concerned about.
“They’ve only been approved for an emergency to use but haven’t been FDA approved yet,” he said. “I believe those who are vulnerable to the virus should have access to the vaccine, and those who want to wait should be allowed to wait.”
Macbean is concerned about how families may have become divided since the pandemic and if it had gotten worse after vaccine rollouts.
He and his fiancee recently got engaged, and the thought of his family not being there does upset him. Still, he says that if his family truly loved him, they would never manipulate him into getting the shot, and they would love him despite his personal choices.
“For anyone who is experiencing a similar situation like myself, I want you to know that those who love you will respect your decision,” he said. “They wouldn’t just shut you down. They would try to understand your choice even if they disagree with it.
“Family members aren’t supposed to manipulate or control you,” Macbean said.