It started with Joe Biden saying he was growing impatient with people who were moving slowly toward the jab. It reached an apex with Norm Chomsky’s comment calling for quarantining the unvaccinated with no concern about their nutritional needs. Hardly loving.

Why the hate for vaccine hesitators? A simple answer — the science. The unvaccinated simply don’t believe the science. That’s The Hill’s Jim Jones’ op-ed argument. “The pandemic is the poster child for this rejection of scientific consensus.” Contrary to Jones little consensus is evident.

Remember Joe Biden’s assurances that the vaccine would prevent personal infection and transmission based on the scientific consensus. His take off the mask moment. Contrast with the vaccinated people who are now contracting COVID-19. On Oct. 28, immunized White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tested positive in a setting where all her coworkers are inoculated and wear masks. A solitary example?

Then consider this Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer headline from just days ago. “Duke [University] Sets New Campus Restrictions After Surge In COVID-19 Cases Among Vaccinated Students.” The article continued that, “As of Aug. 30, (two months ago) Duke reported 98% of students and 92% of employees [as] fully vaccinated.” Scientific consensus?

Compare NBC’s Oct. 1 report (www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news) citing British research that vaccinated persons are less likely to spread the disease with the Bloomberg report (www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-28) confirming just the opposite. And let’s not forget the dissenting views censored and silenced about how to best fight the pandemic. Scientific consensus? That’s laughable.

Conspiracy theories? An information super age liability. But demonizing hesitators because of genuine unwanted side effects they’ve experienced firsthand or heard about hardly seems compelling. Rocker Eric Clapton experienced an adverse reaction thereafter opposing vaccine mandates. Fellow rocker Billy Joel suggested in a New York Daily News article that Clapton’s “politics were…not pleasant.” Is that a fair assessment for a man who felt his life threatened by the vaccine?

Blame Republicans for hesitancy, of course. Jones opined “When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved, we were told universal vaccination would bring the pandemic to a halt. Nevertheless, red-state leaders have been fighting masking, only 57% of the population is fully vaccinated.” True, but the vaccinated are getting COVID as readily as the unvaccinated. So is it political loyalty or common sense? When the current message is get the jab, and the booster(s), and wear your mask and —.

For myself, at least, common sense is a greater motivator than partisan allegiance. And somehow I doubt if Kyrie Irving, Nicki Minaj, Rhianna, and most recently Ice T are staunch Republicans.

This isn’t an argument against vaccines or a downplaying of the potential seriousness of COVID-19. But for the truly objective observer the constantly changing guidelines bear part of the reproach for vaccine hesitancy. With the so-called scientific consensus changing weekly let’s end one of the most divisive issues in our culture. Stop hating on the unvaccinated.

William Shifflett is an Edinburg resident