I met a gentleman yesterday at Home Depot wearing a facemask and he said to me in a resigned, somewhat angry voice, “Can you believe we’re back to wearing these again?”
It was a rhetorical statement, because he had followed the mask protocol over the COVID year and received the vaccine as soon as he was eligible. Possibly he didn’t realize the reason he had to once again wear a mask is because so many people turned down the opportunity to immunize themselves when they had the chance and now it is making a comeback.
There are numerous reasons given for either hesitating or outright declining the COVID vaccination. Some are reasonable, many are political and some are outright Looney Tunes. We will examine some of them here, but first let’s examine the reason why you should get vaccinated.
The most important reason of all is that more than 600,000 Americans have died from COVID since March 2020. Many of us know someone who became seriously ill or died. It resulted in the most intense scientific effort ever to find a cure and as a result, a number of vaccines have become available that are more than 90 percent effective in preventing the virus. The proof of their effectiveness is the fact that since vaccines have become widely available, COVID cases have plummeted the world over. The goal has been to achieve herd immunity – if 70-85 percent of the population is immunized, the coronavirus pandemic will come to an end.
The bad news is that the number of people receiving the vaccine has decreased well short of herd immunity and COVID infections have begun to climb again, almost exclusively among the unvaccinated population. While 600,000 people have already died from COVID, no one has died from the vaccine. So why has the rate of immunizations decreased?
Here are the most commonly cited reasons for not getting vaccinated:
1. The pandemic is overblown; nothing more than a bad flu.
Really? The death toll and hospitalization rate is many times higher than any flu except for the 1918 Spanish flu in an earlier age when vaccines in general were not readily available.
2. The long term side effects are unknown.
Scientific knowledge about disease has advanced rapidly in the past few years, along with the ability to predict long term effects. For instance, the technology behind the coronavirus vaccine resulted from an increased investment in research and development since COVID first appeared and has resulted in a new approach to vaccines that shows great promise for other deadly diseases. Read here about the mRNA vaccines. However, we do know the long-term effects of COVID – sickness and death.
3. It violates my personal rights.
This is the same argument used against wearing face masks. What about the rights of those around you who can potentially get sick or even die because you refuse to wear a mask or get vaccinated?
4. Too many conflicting guidelines.
I can agree on that, both between political sentiment and among scientists. But one guideline is certain – getting vaccinated is clearly the best protection against COVID.
5. I don’t trust the government.
The available vaccines were created by scientists who work for well-respected publicly-owned companies. The government is spending your tax dollars to make the vaccine available at no further cost to you. What about that don’t you trust?
6. I never get sick and/or I never get a flu shot either/my faith will protect me.
Congratulations, but you do realize you can be asymptomatic and still pass the virus on to others, don’t you?
7. I am an anti-vaxxer and refuse any vacccine.
The anti-vaccination movement began long before COVID and you may have had personal experiences that led you to this conclusion. But as a result of the anti-vaxxer movement, previously vaccine-controlled childhood diseases like measles and chickenpox are making a comeback. COVID is also making a comeback because of people who refuse the vaccine, with serious cases and deaths almost exclusively among unvaccinated people (per multiple news sources). Click here.
8. Here is a list of the afore-mentioned Looney Tunes reasons not to get vaccinated:
The shot implants a chip in my shoulder.
The vaccine is made from aborted fetuses.
Many people have died after receiving the vaccine.
The vaccine alters my DNA, causes infertility, gives you COVID.
The fact remains, if we are ever to erase COVID-19 from our lives, we all need to get vaccinated. The alternative, which is playing out across the country today, is to stand by your reasons for rejecting the vaccine just as the highly contagious COVID Delta Variant is rapidly spreading and could lead to even more deadly variants.