USD poli-sci student and aspiring lawyer Kian Olson from Mankato thought coronavirus was fake and refused to get vaccinated. When coronavirus put him in the hospital last week, he told his mom, before the nurses sedated him and shoved a tube down his throat to keep him alive, that he now wants to be vaccinated:
Kian Olson’s mother describes him as an intelligent, headstrong 19-year-old who had been set to begin his sophomore year of college Monday. But right now he’s lying in a hospital bed unconscious, with a tube down his throat, hooked up to a ventilator that is breathing for him.
He refused to accept that COVID-19 is a serious illness, said his mother, Nissa Sugden. He suggested the coronavirus did not exist or was a government conspiracy.
He has since told the nurses with Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato who are working to save his life that he wants to be vaccinated as soon as possible [Jordan Smith, “Mankato Teen Struck with Covid-19 Goes on Ventilator,” Mankato Free Press, 2021.08.24].
It’s hard to change your mind, especially in public. My quoting Dean Wormer won’t make it any easier. But the grave consequences of Olson’s previous poor choice are compelling Olson to change his mind. He may also get others to rethink their reckless behavior:
One of those people is 46-year-old Kim Gores, who lives in Garden City and is friends with Sugden and Kian. Before she saw Sugden’s Facebook post about Kian, she had been staunchly opposed to the COVID vaccine. She had denounced the pandemic as a political scam.
People she knew had been sick with the virus before, but they had recovered without a threat to their lives.
She was mulling over a potential vaccination anyway, though, because she just took a new job as a grocery store cashier, a role with constant public interaction amid a nationwide surge in new cases. Kian’s initial situation prodded her further.
Then she went to the Caring Bridge page where Kian’s medical updates are posted. She learned from a Monday night post that the 19-year-old she knew and cared for was on a ventilator.
That was the end of her holdout.
“Him thinking the same way I was thinking to now, him being in that situation and fighting for his life — it changed my mind a lot,” she said. She now plans to be vaccinated on Thursday. She knows it’s what Kian wants [Smith, 2021.08.24].
Olson, Gores, and others may be learning that vaccines are practical, not political. Even uber-political Noem henchman Dan Bucheli in the South Dakota Department of Health has to admit that, in South Dakota, 97% of new coronavirus cases, 93% of covid hospitalizations, and 95% of covid deaths are among unvaccinated people. Getting your covid shot does not reduce your Republican or conservative cred; it reduces your chances of ending up where Olson is: knocked out in the ICU with a tube down your throat and your family and friends hoping you don’t die tonight.
As Kian’s mom says, giving political reasons for not getting a covid shot is just dumb:
“If those kids or family members or friends are not being vaccinated for anything other than a medical reason, just get vaccinated,” Sugden said. “You are going to come in contact with it, so are you just going to be a little sick, are you not going to be sick, or are you going to be fighting for your life on a ventilator” [Jared Dean, “North Mankato Teen in ICU Battling Covid,” KEYC, 2021.08.26].
So vaccine opponents, be like Kian Olson and change your mind before you end up like Kian Olson: drop the political baloney and GET YOUR SHOTS!!!