NEW ORLEANS — As we hear about mask mandates again and hospitals getting overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, the temperature on people's patience is rising.
So we set up an open mic in the French Quarter and invited people to share their opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine, free and clear of judgment.
And there was no shortage of people who wanted to speak out.
We've become a people divided. This year, not over an election. It's about vaccination. So, we decided to just let people talk and write. Strong feelings from everyday people emerged.
“I am vaccinated. I am pro-vaccine, however I do feel it's each individual's choice if they do become vaccinated or not," one woman said.
Those for the COVID vaccine, had many reasons, along with frustrations.
“Just the misinformation that you find out on social media and things like that,” another said.
“That way more and more business will open, and more we get to travel everywhere, just like if they do their part we can accomplish our goal.”
It was personal for one 12-year-old boy who stopped to talk.
“I feel like you should get the vaccine. My mom's a teacher, and she had to work really hard, and it'd be a lot easier with vaccination to go back to school and teach regularly again.”
And it was personal for the health care workers who spoke out.
“I've seen a lot of loss and grief and the healing has nowhere to begin until we're all on the same wavelength," one said.
“The turnover has been high. We don't have the space. We don't have the supplies, and when people don't get vaccinated, that don't help the problem. They work against us. They don't know how stressful it is," another said.
“I just recommend for everyone to get the vaccine because your chances of survival, because you're not only saving yourself, but you're saving a family member.”
Those not vaccinated had opinions to share as well.
“I’m very health-conscious," one woman said. "Again, I believe in holistic health and it’s natural. I live my life through the grace of God. That's who put me on this earth.”
“I'm more concerned about infertility and other issues that can come along down the road," another woman said. "I feel like you should be able to choose if you want to get it, and I don't feel like it should be shoved down our throats."
“I feel like my chances of surviving are stronger, studies I’ve heard and read, so I'm not going to put something foreign into my body and plus God's got me too," another person said.
A family divided over the vaccine, respected each other's opinions.
“I feel like if you do it, it makes you more safe," one said.
“I just feel like it came out too fast," another responded. "I don't know the long term effects.”
A COVID-19 survivor had compelling reasons to get the shot:
“I was in the hospital with COVID. I had to get an experimental treatment when it came out," they said. "I was out of work for two-and-a-half months. I don't want to go through that again. I have a child. He can't get vaccinated. He's eight, so I feel like it's our part to save the children, and just to help humankind.”
Medical Watch has done many stories showing that the vast majority of people who don't survive COVID, were not vaccinated.
Infertility doctors have also explained on Medical Watch that there is no evidence of the vaccines causing difficulty getting pregnant. They also tell us now 300 million doses have been given safely in the U.S. alone.