In a series of tweets yesterday, M.I.A. revealed that she is against vaccination while apparently trying to encourage cooped-up fans dealing with the strain of self-isolation. As scientists race to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus to help stem its spread across the globe, though, the British singer offered her unpopular opinion, betraying a keen disinterest in understanding the functions of both social distancing and vaccines.
“If I have to choose the vaccine or chip I’m gonna choose death,” she wrote. Once fans began to call her out on this bold statement she made another, using her own experience to justify her position. “Yeah in America they made me vacinate my child before the school admission,” she wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “It was the hardest thing. To not have choice over this as a mother. I never wanna feel that again. He was so sick for 3 weeks then Docs had to pump him with antibiotics to reduce the fever from 3 vaxins.”
If I have to choose the vaccine or chip I'm gonna choose death – YALA
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) March 25, 2020
That’s… kind of how vaccines work and while there should be some empathy for any mother going through the uncertainty of having a sick child, it seems M.I.A. misses the larger point of 1. Being able to avoid the certain misery of having a dead child from a preventable disease, and 2. Putting countless other mothers at risk of experiencing the same grief as an unvaccinated child becomes a vector for spreading communicable viruses.
She tried to mitigate the backlash by tweeting some vague, New Age-y affirmations, but by then, the damage was done. While she proudly tweeted, “Cancelling is irrelevant!” it was clear that having yet another backlash from putting her digital foot in her mouth again bugged her.
Again, while it’s easy to feel empathy for a mother worrying about her kid, it’s hard to feel sympathy for a sheltered, privileged musician (one who largely grew up that way, to boot) expressing her selfish disdain for other people, even if she doesn’t see it that way. What she doesn’t seem to get is that ideas — especially bad ones — are like germs, only they spread even more quickly and they’re even harder to kill. As a celebrity, she has a platform and influence. Even though people shouldn’t listen to her about this stuff, they probably will, leading more people to foolishly place their own temporary comfort over the long-term good of our global community.
Hopefully, this incident will inspire her — and others — to read up on just why vaccination is so important for a healthy functioning society. Which is partly so we don’t have to keep doing this self-quarantine stuff over and over and over again.
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