BY GABE LICHT
Following the editorial that appeared on this page last week, I think it’s important to present the other side of the vaccination issue.
First of all, let me say I understand that people have their reservations about vaccines. To be honest, when the vaccine was being finalized, I was debating whether or not I would get it. I was under the impression that it was being rushed at “warp speed,” and I wondered if it would be safe.
I wasn’t alone. An American Psychiatric Association poll found that 22% of respondents do not intend to get vaccinated. According to a separate poll conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21.6% of those not intending to get vaccinated cited a concern that the vaccine was developed too quickly.
However, I learned from a local nurse fighting the pandemic on the front lines that years of research led to the quick development of the vaccine.
A Healthline article stated, “Both the mRNA and adenovirus technologies behind the COVID-19 vaccines were built on decades of research and experience.”
I learned in a separate article from the University of Chicago that the first mRNA and vector vaccines were developed in 1999. The biggest concern with that type of vaccine is not its safety but how long it is effective, according to the article.
There are many articles from the scientific community not mainstream media regarding how the vaccine was developed quickly and safely.
It is also worth noting that former President Donald Trump touted how quickly the vaccine was developed, and yet many of those who believe he should still be our president won’t get the vaccine. That makes little sense to me.
I understand concerns about side effects.
According to the CDC, there are six serious but uncommon side effects, the most concerning being death. Through Aug. 16, there have been 6,789 reports of death (.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, though it is unclear if the vaccine was the cause of death in every case.
I’m not writing that off as insignificant, but in comparison, the CDC reports that 628,000 of the 37,996,672 COVID-19 cases have led to death in the US, making it the second leading cause of death behind heart disease (659,041 deaths), and ahead of cancer (599,601 deaths) and accidents (173,040 deaths).
Were those numbers manipulated? Even Dr. Scott Jensen, who told Fox News that hospitals received financial incentives for identifying COVID cases, told FactCheck.org that he did not think that hospitals were intentionally misclassifying cases for financial reasons.
Unfortunately, Jensen’s initial comments led people to distrust the numbers being reported.
Even though the general manager of this publication mistrusted the numbers, those numbers still appeared on our pages for many months, which seems disingenuous. I don’t believe it’s right to both decry a “death counter” and participate in it.
Let’s look beyond the reported statistics for a moment and remember that those numbers are real people. They are parents, grandparents, sons, and daughters, and they all died alone due to COVID.
That includes one of my loved ones.
I also have a friend who was pregnant when she got COVID, and nearly lost her life and the life of her daughter, who was born prematurely. She was 34 at the time.
I’m not OK with downplaying how many people have been affected by COVID.
I also find it interesting how the word “fear” has been thrown around over the past 18 months.
This characterization that everyone who stayed home or wore a mask when they ventured out was paralyzed by fear bothers me. Throughout this pandemic, I have not been controlled by fear, but I have been cautious, not only for myself, but also my loved ones and even people I don’t know. Had people not been cautious, I am confident the death toll would have been much higher.
I got the vaccine for the same reason. According to the CDC, “Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to be infectious for a shorter period.” So, not only does the vaccine protect me, it likely protects others, including those who refuse to get vaccinated.
Regarding those individuals, I respect their personal choice, but I also encourage them to do their own research and rely on facts, not opinions or rumors as the basis for their refusal.
Should individuals be required to be vaccinated or tested regularly to keep their jobs?
Honestly, I struggle with this question and I’m uncomfortable with such requirements. However, if children can be required to be vaccinated to attend school, maybe vaccination requirements for adults are not as unreasonable as I thought, given that adults are at a higher risk from COVID. This is especially true for those in certain professions, such as the medical field.
I’ll say the entities involved have the right to do what they feel is best to protect their employees and assets. Isn’t that their right in a capitalistic society?
I do agree that the topic of vaccination has divided us, and I don’t like it.
However, making incendiary comments about those who are vaccinated or unvaccinated cannot heal that divide.
Instead, let’s focus on loving our neighbors as ourselves. For me, that includes being vaccinated and encouraging others to do the same while aspiring not to judge those who disagree with me about vaccinations, or anything else for that matter.