Flu prevention concept. Medical face mask on blue background top view copy space frame

When news broke in February that Arizona would open COVID-19 vaccines to people over age 55, I had a long debate with myself about whether to get the shot.

By long, I mean 3 solid minutes. Or the time it took me to Google, “Will the COVID vaccine implant a microchip in me?”

Seriously, that’s one of the myths circulating about the vaccine, along with rumors that the vaccines will genetically modify your DNA or that the shot is actually more lethal than COVID-19 itself.

All false, at least according to everyone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Mayo Clinic to the American Medical Association to yours truly. 

I got a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 25. So far, I’ve shown no ill effects besides the sore arm I had for 48 hours and a decreased tolerance for people who say things like, “Didja know the COVID-19 vaccine killed Hank Aaron?”

Again, this is seriously a contention being made by the anti-vaxxers. 

Their logic? Aaron got his COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 5. The baseball slugger died 17 days later in his sleep, at age 86. The medical examiner ruled this a death from natural causes, reporting that Aaron showed no symptoms of COVID-19, nor any side effects from the Moderna vaccine he received.

Still, leading anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tweeted, “Aaron’s tragic death is part of a wave of suspicious deaths among elderly closely following administration of COVID vaccines.”

The rumor mill ran so amok, the New York Times fact-checked Aaron’s demise under a headline reading, “Hank Aaron’s death had nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccine.”

For some folks, the world medical establishment and the mainstream media uniting to assure us of something can only mean one thing — the exact opposite of whatever we’re being told. 

If the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association all say a vaccine is safe — and they’ve released a public service announcement saying exactly that — the only logical thing to believe is a YouTube video by some loon named Steve Fletcher who reports, “4 Reasons Why The COVID Vaccine IS The Mark Of The Beast!”

Steve says it’s right there in Revelations 13. “The Beast and the False Prophet and the Dragon will deceive humanity into taking His mark,” i.e., the COVID-19 vaccine.

To think, my big worry was that the second shot might interfere with my Saturday morning tee time.

A mid-March poll of Arizonans by OH Predictive Insights shows that 17% of us will refuse to take the vaccine, while another 11% remain unsure. 

That could create an issue for our state, given that medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci estimate that herd immunity from COVID-19 will require “75% to 80%-plus” of the herd to be vaccinated.

This member of the herd feels tip top after getting two shots in the arm. Not only has my 5G cellphone reception improved at home — four bars! — but before dawn, I can mentally tune in AM radio stations from as far away as St. Louis. 

On the downside, I didn’t get the AstraZeneca vaccine, which relies on a modified chimpanzee adenovirus to induce COVID-19 immunity. According to some Internet memes, this means the vaccine will turn you into a monkey — something I’ve hoped for since seeing “Planet of the Apes” when I was 9.

My favorite ape has always been Dr. Zaius, played by the great British stage actor Maurice Evans. Zaius was the ape who nailed it when he said of man, “From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy.”