I got my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine this week. I joked with friends that I could soon start my own 5G mobile network with my left arm.
Jokes aside, getting vaccinated against a virus that has so far killed at least four-and-a-half million people worldwide is one of the most important steps we can take for ourselves and for our communities.
I wish everyone were on board with this. I have lost patience with people who shun science fact in favour of science fiction.
Case in point: I was having an after-dinner chat with two other people several weeks ago, rattling on about what I thought was irresponsible behaviour by an American friend.
She had initially refused to get a Covid-19 vaccination before hosting a large gathering. I worried she was arranging a potential super-spreader event. But thanks to her partner's pleas and her state's indoor mask mandate for unvaccinated people, she got the jab in plenty of time for the party. "I'm so relieved," I said.
The person next to me nodded in agreement.
But I could see the suddenly stony face of the person across the table. "I'm not convinced about getting vaccinated," they said. "I've done my reading. It's a personal choice."
I countered with a couple of points, that A: I'm a pretty good reader but struggle to digest data from medical journal articles; B: Their choice affects me, too.
We changed topics. Despite a roaring fire, something in the air had frozen.
I'm still not sure how to navigate scientific debate with other non-scientists. But it's clear what the vast majority of practising physicians, scientists and public health experts say about people who "do their research" and exercise poor personal choices regarding Covid vaccines.
Let's start with research. If your reading leads you to believe Ivermectin, a livestock dewormer, is a substitute for getting vaccinated, it's time to back away from your device.
There is no scientific evidence the drug is effective at preventing or treating Covid. The medicine has not been studied nearly as much as Covid vaccines.
Taking Ivermectin is like getting chemotherapy at a feed store, according to the state health officer in Mississippi, where a man was hospitalised after ingesting the drug.
More than five billion doses of Covid vaccine have gone into arms across the globe.
A small percentage of people have suffered serious adverse events. In the US, healthcare providers are required to report any death after Covid-19 vaccination to a database, even if it's unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.
The same database (VAERS) allows anyone to report any event and a disclaimer on its website says, "The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable."
In places like America, where roughly half of people are fully vaccinated, Covid-19 has become an epidemic of the unvaccinated.
More than 90 per cent of Covid hospitalisations and deaths are among this population. A doctor wrote in the New York Times one of his patients had tried multiple, unproven treatments before landing in the ICU with Covid-19, including Ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies.
The one thing the patient failed to do was get vaccinated. By the time he reached the hospital, it was too late and he died.
He is just one data point in a sea of numbers that show the Covid-19 vaccination, even while not 100 per cent effective at preventing the disease, is hugely successful in preventing hospitalisations and deaths.
By contrast, the anecdote about someone's aunty's cousin's partner who died after getting a shot has likely not been linked scientifically to the Covid vaccine.
No vaccine can make you immortal. Correlation is not causation. At least, that's what scientists say.
Your choice to extend your fist stops at my face. When a vaccine sceptic says, "Everyone has to be comfortable with their choices," I disagree.
Choosing not to be vaccinated in the absence of a bona fide medical reason is worse than punching us all in the nose. Your exhale, sneeze or laugh could kill another unvaccinated person.
One job of the government is to keep people safe. This is why we have laws requiring seat belts and helmets, laws against selling illegal drugs and now - indoor mask mandates.
In some cases, curtailing individual liberties is the price we pay for health and safety.
NZME revealed earlier this week the Government is considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for some frontline health workers.
More American medical centres will likely mandate staff vaccinations after the FDA this week gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Meanwhile, it is heartening that so many Kiwis are rolling up their sleeves, seeking to protect not only themselves but their communities from Covid.
Believing in pseudoscience and being comfortable with not getting vaccinated runs counter to taking a stand for freedom.
People who choose this path will prolong the cycle of sickness, lockdowns and closed borders.
Who do you trust for medical information? Epidemiologists, virologists, immunologists? Scientists and researchers respected by peers?
Or do you seek advice from non-practising, former health providers gone rogue and snake oil salesmen who prey on fear? I know who I choose.