By Evie Shaye
The declaration of a global Pandemic on March 11, 2020, led to worldwide lockdowns, 139,274,615 total cases of infection globally, and 2,989,590 total deaths from the disease. Such a catastrophic event has rightly become the center of our lives. It is now a little over a year later, and the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Jefferson and Jefferson vaccines have been created. Can the world finally have some peace? Perhaps not.
The celebration of the vaccine has been tainted due to some people, specifically those in the United States, being unconvinced that the vaccine creation is a positive. Now, there is nothing wrong with asking questions and being cautious. However, in our dire situation, such hesitation in the face of a solution is a little concerning. Actually, very concerning.
Do people not want to end the suffering once and for all? Well, according to the KFF Covid Vaccine Monitor, not all people are on board with the vaccination. 17% of people have decided to “wait and see'' what happens before getting vaccinated, 7% said they would get it “only if it is required,” and 13% said they would “definitely not” be getting the vaccine.
My question is why? Why would we not support vaccination and immunization against the pandemic that has stolen so much from us already? If you’re on the fence, here is a little clarity around the top misconceptions about the vaccine and the main reasons people are hesitant to get vaccinated.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to stop people from getting vaccinated is fear of the unknown —specifically, the fear of unknown side effects. The symptoms like headaches, body aches, fever, chills, nausea, etc., are scaring Americans out of the shot. What is scary is the fear of passing out, blood clots, and even death. It’s the fear of an experimental drug and the unknown reaction your body could have. But these symptoms are completely unrealistic and rarely occur! You’re more likely to win the lottery.
I once heard someone compare it to the movie “I Am Legend,” featuring Will Smith. In the movie, scientists believe they have found a cure for cancer, only to have injected everyone with some sort of mutation that turns them into zombie creatures who can’t sunbathe. Very strange, I know. The film does have some compelling visuals, but are we seriously going to let a blockbuster movie alter our immediate reality? We can save lives here, so why not take that chance? I am so confident that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will save lives that if our world becomes that Will Smith movie, I will personally apologize to everyone.
The second greatest ‘reason’ for not vaccinating seems to be good old conspiracy theories. It’s those stories you read on Facebook when you are bored or the videos you watch on Youtube and 2 a.m. It’s that “but what if…” that is keeping people from getting vaccinated.
Now I must say, I have partaken in some conspiracy theories over the years myself. For example, I am taking my belief that Micheal Jackson is still alive to my grave. He attended his own funeral, for goodness sake. So I get where you are coming from. I do. But in this situation, let’s actually do some research here.
Check your sources. If it is anything that has popped up on your computer when taking a BuzzFeed quiz, perhaps it's not the most reliable. If it is something that you heard from a very conservative or very liberal friend, it might be biased. Just be cautious of the things you blindly believe and ask yourself about the greater good.
It was just too fast!
Some say a normal vaccine takes upwards of 8 to 10 years to produce successfully. The Covid-19 vaccine was produced in less than a year and available to the public at an unprecedented speed. It was Heidi Laarson, The Vaccine Confidence Project Director, who said, “from a scientific or political point of view it is an achievement, but from a public point of view it like, “Woah, that's way too fast.” So it is not crazy to be a bit afraid of how quickly the vaccine was created.
Out of fear of how quickly it was developed, 84% of people say they just need to know how well it works before getting the injection, according to an ABC News article. Out of fear of the quick development, people are refusing to get the vaccine because they think it is a first draft of what will come out in 8 to 10 years.
While I am sure the vaccine will develop in the future, as many do, it is important to remember this is the 21st century. We have the technology, medication, research, and funds, all of which were not available to the same extent even one decade ago. What may have taken ten years to produce in 1950 may only take a year to produce now because of our rapid technological progress. We now carry mini-computers in pockets. Flying drones are actually a thing. There are self-driving vehicles on the roads. Must I continue?
It is illogical to write off the vaccine simply based on the timeframe of its production. We have adapted significantly, which should be celebrated as a technological feat.
Honestly, anxiety is the top contributor to vaccine concerns. After the year we have had and the devastation that continues, anxiety is high. People are afraid and do not want to conform or put themselves at risk. I fully understand this, but we must remember that fear is a liar. Humans have a strong genetic ability to predict and react to threats. But fear in our modern age is often misplaced. Our brains detect threats where they do not exist.
I am not saying all of your hesitations are untrue, but at the end of the day, we have found something that has proven effective in combating Covid-19. It is scientifically proven to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of covid upon being exposed to the disease. It will save all those who would potentially die from the virus. Should we not be celebrating that instead of only continuing to worry?