This letter is in response to “Those Refusing Vaccine are Virus Moochers,” by L.A. Times columnist Doyle McManus (The Sentinel, March 23).

I suppose Mr. McManus is referring to folks like me, although he might be surprised to learn that I am neither a man nor a Republican, the demographic he cites as being most deserving of the spate of finger-pointing and name-calling evidenced in this piece.

I won’t counter with more of the same, but would simply like to explain why I am declining the advice of our government-appointed medical adviser. You see, Dr. Fauci doesn’t know me from Adam. He has never set eyes upon me, let alone examined me. He is completely ignorant of my medical history, my diet, lifestyle, allergies or sensitivities.

I, on the other hand, have lived in this body for 73 years, paying very close attention to it and making any necessary adjustments along the way. I know its strengths and weaknesses. I have weathered measles, mumps, chicken pox and other childhood epidemics before vaccines against them were even available. I’ve learned to trust my body’s natural immune system.

Why risk this revolutionary mRNA shot, based on Dr. Fauci’s claims that they are “safe”? How could he know, given how hastily they were developed? If lemmings could advance at warp speed, they would still go over the cliff.

My intent here is not to dissuade anyone from getting a vaccination. I do reject Mr. McManus’ notion that vaccine resisters are waiting to see how many friends and relatives get by without ill effects from “the jab” before following suit. I have no intention of doing so. I sincerely hope for the sake of my many beloved friends and relatives and the rest of the population who have chosen to take the shot that Dr. Fauci is right and they are safe. But I reserve my right to exercise critical thinking without being labeled unfairly and urge others to do the same.

If, as Mr. McManus suggests, you feel endangered by the “unvaccinated,” perhaps you should get the shot. But reserve that “wide berth” he advocates giving to people like me, for anyone aiming to squelch critical thinking about important personal health decisions.