February 8, 2021

Celebrate vaccines

We are in a topsy turvy world at the moment. Many of you are still waiting to be eligible for the vaccine, many of you have received your first dose, and many are in the frustrating “eligible but finding an appointment is impossible” phase. And some of you are in the skeptical phase. I understand.

Axios had two articles this week clarifying how unusually lucky we are to already have 2 approved vaccines and 2 more to be shortly approved with data that is important where it matters: decreased hospitalizations and deaths. Axios suggests we can improve our messaging about vaccines to help that hesitancy. I am not sure the medical profession has done such a good job with that explanation, especially with the nursing and other frontline staff. They are some of the biggest skeptics.

Our next biggest issue after vaccine access expands (which it will), is helping people decide to get immunized because it is safe, effective, and less risky than the illness. The vaccines decrease both hospitalizations and deaths, even with the new UK variant. Also, the sooner we get vaccinated and the more numbers of people get vaccinated, the less virus is circulating and the less the new variants can spread, which means the fewer new variants will develop.

But misinformation continues to be a barrier, and in fact in one study showed increased vaccine skepticism in the UK with increased social media spread of rumors. The study showed that as misinformation about the vaccine went “viral”, a simultaneous decrease in vaccine acceptance happened. This reinforces our need to vet our sources of information, at the same time we teach about the benefits of the vaccines.

Different companies are trying different ideas to encourage their employees to get vaccinated without making it mandated. Kroger’s idea is to pay their employees to get vaccinated. Other ideas are circulating too.

Understanding how the vaccines were able to be developed and then proven safe and effective in such a short time helps alleviate the fears of political intervention or big Pharma’s nefarious plans.

For me, it was simple. I don’t want to risk a COVID-19 infection and I especially don’t want the burden of accidentally infecting someone else, especially a loved one. One family I care for is devastated by the death of their matriarch from COVID-19. She stayed home and did not have exposures out of the house. One of her large family of children or grandchildren brought it to her. I cannot imagine the pain that family member is feeling about the death of this lovely, relatively healthy woman. I am heartbroken.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and please consider vaccination.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.




https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-021-01056-1 vaccine misinformation