Fast forward a year and a few months and here we are. There is a bright, shiny, golden light at the end of this dreary tunnel.
We have not one, not two, not three, but four vaccines circulating around the globe with high efficacy rates to protect us against COVID-19. What a historic achievement, and a real sense of hope! The pandemic could come to an end by the end of this year but alas, we are hit with a resistance that believes science-based research is a global government conspiracy intended to control us.
As if our smart phones weren’t doing that already; they don’t need a vaccine.
It seems as though the stress and grief the pandemic has brought upon the entire planet wasn’t enough to encourage anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers to accept any of the vaccines available to the American public. Instead, they are cheating the honor system President Biden enacted for fully vaccinated people. I wish I could ignore them. Statistics have proven that the cases within the unvaccinated community have remained stagnant from January. With the number of variants increasing, unvaccinated people are more at risk. We shouldn’t have to care about all the ways they intend to jeopardize their own lives but we are in a pandemic.
The longer COVID-19 circulates without adequate protection, the stronger and more contagious variants are developed. This can continue to overwhelm hospitals and frontline medical personnel who have already sacrificed so much to carry us into our current situation. This can also compilate the efficacy of our existing vaccines. Pfizer is already testing booster shots needed to cater to any stronger variants, but anti-vaxxers are prolonging our progress.
I cannot stress this enough: The scientists and medical professionals who created the vaccines we distribute today are some of the most intelligent and highly educated pupils on our planet. They are more knowledgeable in science and medicine than you will ever be through your discovery and use of Google.
Would you trust your dentist to fill a cavity after an introductory briefing on YouTube 10 minutes before?
Would you trust me, a Hospitality major without any medical training, to complete a round of your chemotherapy for your blood cancer?
Since when did we begin doubting science? After the year we’ve had, it’s astonishing to hear what other pseudoscience conspiracy theories anti-vaxxers are choosing to believe instead.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain strains of COVID-19, so you will not get the virus because of your shots. T and B cells in you body work to create antibodies to fight off intruders. These antibodies become memory cells that are triggered when encountering that same intruders. The COVID-19 vaccine, like most other vaccines, prepare your cells to create antibodies without needed to catch the illness.
There is an old poem that states, “There is a cure for every disease, except stupidity, it infects those who try to cure it”. The truest statement I’ve ever read.
Debunking the Myths
The first major argument I heard against any of the vaccines, suggested that natural immunity was just as effective as vaccine-immunity, or redundant if you already had COVID-19. Unfortunately with COVID-19, the risks outweigh all else. Sure, you may have gotten COVID-19 and survived without any significant damage, but your immune system is worn out. Because of the unknowns about the virus, it is believed that if you should contract COVID-19 a second time, your symptoms may be worse.
Plus, there is the potential of contracting long COVID. There are studies that suggest you can suffer with neurological, lung, joint, mental and a ton of other problems for years after “recovering”. This is what a chronic illness is, and it’s serious. It’s one of the most challenging things to endure, and COVID-19 delivers. The worst part about long COVID is that medical experts haven’t been able to devote as much time and research into supporting those with long COVID because they are too busy treating unvaccinated people with COVID and debunking myths about the vaccine.
Then, people were concerned about how quickly the vaccine was created. It was a historic achievement to have so many vaccines created at record speeds, but I can understand the hesitancy there. You have the understanding that plentiful funding and resources were provided because this was a pandemic, not an epidemic. By definition, a pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents). When COVID-19 erupted around China, many of you probably didn’t even give it a second-thought. Just avoid traveling to China. People were concerned about the Ebola outbreak, but it didn’t affect enough of the world for Americans at least, to care.
The mRNA technology used in the vaccines has been in development for almost 20 years. We didn’t start from scratch. Afterwards, the authorization process to follow was just as stringent as with any vaccine. According to the Mayo Clinic, “to receive emergency use authorization, the biopharmaceutical manufacturer must have followed at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population. In addition to the safety review by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization has convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial.” None of the vaccines were rushed.
If the top medical researchers in the country approved of the vaccine, and chose to injected not only themselves, but their family, too, why wouldn’t you trust it?
Since 1997, there has been this long-standing idea that vaccines cause autism– which they don’t. Millions of people have been vaccinated before, during and afterwards without a significant increase in autism diagnoses. Even if it was true, you’re telling me you would rather have your children suffer with a potentially debilitating illness than be autistic?
Anti-vaxxers don’t end there. When believing in the concept of pseudoscience with Professor Google, weirder conspiracies have come into fruition. Let’s debunk them real quick.
- COVID-19 vaccines can’t alter your DNA because it never interacts with the nucleus of the cell, which holds our DNA.
- COVID-19 vaccines do not affect fertility. There are simpler things that affect fertility such as stress, smoking, excessive alcohol use, genetics and hormones.
- Simply being near someone who received the vaccine does not affect your menstrual cycle, just like being on your period doesn’t contaminate your food, or whatever other mystified myths people have about women’s bodies.
Stick to what you know, and let the medical professionals do what they do. If you want an theories clarified, consult your physician.
We are in an unimaginable state of privilege here in the U.S. We have access to three vaccines, and have enough doses ordered for every American to get vaccinated while hundreds of countries have yet to receive a single dose. To stick up your nose and insist on waiting, or denying it altogether is selfish.
Over 600,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Families across the globe have been devastated by this virus, and it’s not just the elderly or immunocompromised who have suffered. People have had to take their last breaths on a hospital bed surrounded by exhausted front-line workers, and not their immediate family members. These people may have done everything they could to avoid contracting the virus, or they could have been the cause. They suffered all the way through, and now they are just a name without a back story. Losing a loved one can completely uproot your life, causing deep emotional distress for years to come. To overlook the hardships this year has brought, refuse the vaccine and return to “normal” is insensitive.
Dr. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has advised seven Presidents in his career. He was one of the leading researchers during the AIDS epidemic. He also contributed greatly to the research of several immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He is to be valued, not challenged Marjorie Taylor Greene.
I also find it difficult to trust in a Congresswoman who compares mask-wearing to the “gas chambers in the Holocaust” over a respected expert in his field.
Dr. Fauci and President Biden recently stated that if we can get at least 70% of the entire U.S. population vaccinated by July 4, 2021, we can potentially avoid another resurgence down the line.
I’m over this pandemic, and I hope you are, too. It’s time to take action.