For many families, Thanksgiving brings with it the dubious blessing of being reunited with certain people who might never be welcome in your home if they were not somehow linked to you by genetics or marriage.

It might be a brother-in-law who drinks too much or a cousin whose foul language shocks the kids or a lewd aunt who hits on your boyfriend or a hyper-religious uncle intent on saving the soul of every family member before the pumpkin pie is served. More often than not, it is the relative who cannot resist loudly sharing obnoxious political opinions that are diametrically opposed to your own.

This year, will the list of unwelcome guests expand to the brother or sister or mom or dad or second cousin or annoying in-law who refuses to get vaccinated for COVID-19 but decides to show up for dinner anyway? They might announce they are defending their “freedom” by refusing the shot. They might claim to be so healthy that there is no way they can get sick. They might declare they know for a fact that the vaccine contains a tiny computer chip that will transform vaccinated dupes into slaves of the federal government or Bill Gates or the lizard people or all three.

There are lots of excuses for not getting vaccinated, from the simply lame to the totally insane, but nothing would excuse exposing other family members to infection. COVID has become a disease of the unvaccinated. If one of them shows up on your doorstep, give them some turkey to-go and tell them to come back next year — if they live that long.

And then give thanks for a vaccine that is protecting the lives of all the people dear to you who are smart enough to believe in science instead of toxic fantasies.

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