Djokovic vs Covid-19

Can he win this match against the vaccine?

When the COVID-19 pandemic began one of the debates that it sparked was against the mask. While some people claimed, God had given them the ability to breathe and wearing a mask would obstruct that natural ability and have been involved in violent acts for purposely not obeying the ‘No mask No service policy’ in grocery stores and other public places others have quietly strapped the thin piece of surgical material to their faces and tucking the white bands behind their ears.

The debate in the past year shifted onto vaccines. Pfizer or Moderna? Chinese or European? One-shot or two? Blood clots from Astrazeneca or Johnson and Johnsons? Got Covid after getting vaccinated? Is there any point to get vaccinated or not? Is it safe to get vaccinated?

This year the limelight is upon the boosters.

Djokovic’s recent saga with the Australian government has once again brought forth the idea of the limitations of personal freedom the pandemic has enforced upon us.

While the number one male tennis player was on his way to defend his 21st Grand Slam title, his unvaccinated status took him to court instead. While his visa was canceled the first time upon ‘failing to provide appropriate evidence’ to receive a vaccine exemption, his visa was reinstated by a judge who ordered his release, ruling that border officials ignored correct procedure when he arrived.

However, just yesterday the Immigration Minister Mr.Alex Hawke exercised his power by implementing Australia’s Migration Act canceling his visa once again.

Djokovic still refuses to get vaccinated.

Without getting into the politics of the situation, what I would like to understand is whether Djokovic’s decision to remain unvaccinated is justifiable from the lens of personal freedom.

Though I myself have been vaccinated, I won’t deny the thoughts, questions and hesitance that lingered in my head about the vaccine itself. Is it safe? What side effects will it have? Do we know what’s in the vaccine? What effects will it show some years later?

The answer to all these questions was just another big fat question mark. Truthfully, no one knows (except for pharmaceuticals I’m sure) what we have injected ourselves with for the sake of this disease.

One of the priorities kept in mind about getting vaccinated was traveling or actually being allowed to go anywhere. Restaurants, shops, and public transport all were at service to you on the condition that you had to have a vaccination certificate. In my country, the government went to the extent of blocking sim cards if one was not vaccinated. There wasn’t much choice left.

But today, when there are certain countries that have not allowed entry on the basis of what vaccine you have been injected with, it makes you wonder about the pregnant political reality of the pandemic itself.

Now come the boosters.

Boosters are basically, additional vaccine shots when the effect of the original shots has begun to decrease over time. Once again, people and celebrities are posting images of getting ‘boosted’ encouraging others to do the same. The Omnicron strain of the virus adds to the pressure and creates a sense of urgency to do so.

But the question remains, how safe is it?

Studies are already showing signs of Auto-Immune diseases and weakening immune systems after taking four shots of the vaccine. Then who do we trust?

The disease itself is shown to be unpredictable and unknowing. New variants and new symptoms are added to our database every day and new laws and restrictions are curated every other day.

People who have already gotten booster shots are still catching covid, while Pfizer is saying it will develop a vaccine for the Omnicron variant by March!

It’s a dizzying situation.

Some doctors recommend getting boosted while others do not. We are all guinea pigs at the moment, not knowing how our bodies will react if not now then in the future to the chemicals we have injected inside our bodies.

But, I wonder how long will it be before Djokovic himself is forced to be ‘vaxxed’ against his beliefs.

Have you been boosted already?

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Aamnah Mansoor

I'm a 22 year old trying to make sense of this outlandish world.