Ill-Informed in Vietnamese-American Community

I went to the Vietnamese temple to burn a few incense sticks for my mom on Mother’s Day. After praying and chanting, the monk took a few minutes to talk about COVID-19. He gave logical reasons for masking and vaccination. Masking protects ourselves and others from getting infected. Vaccination prevents the virus and stops the spread.

From what we had been through in the past year, I thought he was preaching to the choir. I estimated that of the twenty plus people attending the service, most, if not all, had at least one dose of vaccine. Then a guy (probably in his early 50s) interjected. He asked if the monk had been vaccinated even though the monk just said he had. He advised the monk that he should not have been vaccinated. The monk asked if anyone else didn’t believe in vaccination. No one raised his or her hand. The monk should have asked how many had vaccinated already.

The guy then explained that he had done thorough research on this topic. He claimed that the media had created this virus in China and they had taken over the White House. If we continued to listen to the media and get vaccinated, we would be influenced by the Chinese and the Democrats. The monk responded to the guy’s conspiracy theory that he didn’t take vaccination as political. If he got sick, he would take medication. He trusted doctors and scientists. He was vaccinated to protect himself and the people around him.

The monk then pointed to the older monk who is 83 years old. He said that the senior monk didn’t want to be vaccinated at first due to his age, but he decided to do it because he wanted people to attend the temple. I cheered, “Thank you, thầy” and clapped my hands. Some people joined in.

As folks gathered around the altar to pray for their loved ones, I took off because the anti-vaxxer didn’t wear his mask. Even though I was fully vaccinated, I didn’t want to catch his stupidity.