Even though his refusal was based on medical advice and pre-existing Guillain-Barre Syndrome, apparently that…
by Jerry Wilson
Pete Parada, who’s been the drummer since 2007 for veteran punk band The Offspring, announced that he has been let go by the band due to his refusal to take any variation of the COVID vaccine. According to Parada, he’s been deemed “unsafe” to be around even though he had COVID-19 and recovered. But that’s not his only reason for his decision to not get “the jab.” He explained his reasoning in a lengthy Twitter thread Monday, the entire text of which is printed below:
I’ve got some unfortunate and difficult news to share. I know many of my close friends and family would’ve preferred to hear this privately first – and I apologize for the public nature of my disclosure, but I don’t know how to have this conversation multiple times.
Given my personal medical history and the side-effect profile of these jabs, my doctor has advised me not to get a shot at this time.
I caught the virus over a year ago, it was mild for me – so I am confident I’d be able to handle it again, but I’m not so certain I’d survive another post-vaccination round of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which dates back to my childhood and has evolved to be progressively worse over my lifetime. Unfortunately for me, (and my family – who is hoping to keep me around a bit longer) the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Since I am unable to comply with what is increasingly becoming an industry mandate – it has recently been decided that I am unsafe to be around, in the studio, and on tour. I mention this because you won’t be seeing me at these upcoming shows.
I also want to share my story so that anyone else experiencing the agony and isolation of getting left behind right now – knows they’re not entirely alone.
I have no negative feelings towards my band. They’re doing what they believe is best for them, while I am doing the same. Wishing the entire Offspring family all the best as they get back at it!
I’m heartbroken not to be seeing my road community, and I will miss connecting with the fans more than I can express in words.
While my reason for not getting this jab is medical, I want to make sure I’m not carving out a space that is only big enough for me. I need to state, unequivocally, that I support informed consent – which necessitates choice unburdened by coercion.
I do not find it ethical or wise to allow those with the most power (government, corporations, organizations, employers) to dictate medical procedures to those with the least power.
There are countless folks (like me) for whom these shots carry a greater risk than the virus. Most of us don’t publicly share a private decision we made in careful consideration with our doctors. We know it’s not an easy conversation to unfold.
If it looks like half the population is having a shockingly different reaction to these jabs than was expected – it’s probably because their life experiences have actually been shockingly different, and their reasons range from a conscientious risk/benefit analysis, to the financial inability to take time off work/lack of health care in the event of potential side-effects, to an understandable distrust in a system that has never prioritized the health or well-being of their communities.
I hope we can learn to make room for all the perspectives and fears that are happening currently. Let’s avoid the unfortunate tendency to dominate, dehumanize and shout down at each other. The hesitant population is not a monolithic group. All voices deserve to be heard.
In the meantime, I’m in the midst of launching a project and releasing some music with my daughter, so please stay tuned for all of that. I deeply appreciate your understanding and support as my family and I find a new way forward.
Sending love to everyone who has been impacted by this pandemic, in all the ways lives have been lost and altered.
There is presently no statement about the matter on the band’s website or social media channels. The band is touring to support Let The Bad Times Roll, its first new album in nine years. (A side note: lead singer Dexter Holland holds a Ph.D in molecular biology from USC.)
Guillain-Barré Syndrome, as detailed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is:
… a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system — the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. GBS can range from a very mild case with brief weakness to nearly devastating paralysis, leaving the person unable to breathe independently. Fortunately, most people eventually recover from even the most severe cases of GBS. After recovery, some people will continue to have some degree of weakness.
Given the above, it is more than understandable that Parada is following his doctor’s advice to avoid the vaccine. As the band has yet to comment on the matter, speculation on its members’ motivation is inappropriate.
The incident highlights how a universal mantra of “vaccinate vaccinate vaccinate” is unwise and should be unwelcome by informed individuals. As Eric Clapton’s case shows, not everyone can, or should, take a vaccine that due to the understandable haste with which it (grouping all variants into one for conciseness’ sake) was introduced. Immediately branding anyone who refuses the vaccine a modern-day leper to be cast out and shunned serves no purpose save feeding into a mindless mob mentality.
It is entirely possible to make an informed decision based on readily available evidence — adding to the data individual factors such as age, health, and exposure risk — regarding whether to take the vaccine. I did take the Johnson & Johnson variant, choosing to do so based on my age (over 60) and profession (retail). Others choose not to be vaccinated, hopefully basing their decision on verifiable data and not knee-jerk sloganeering. As Pete Parada’s case demonstrates, declining the vaccine can be for an individual as life-saving as accepting it might be for another.