After the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and up last week, we had another rush for vaccine appointments. After the big waves of adults who were savvy enough to find vaccine appointments, things had been slowing down. Everyone likes to blame the “Vaccine Hesitant” or “Anti-Vaxxers” for why numbers of vaccinations were dropping, but the situation is more complicated than that. Yes, some are COVID skeptics, others don’t trust the medical system or the political system, others are waiting to see how it goes with people they know, others wait for full approval, not just emergency use. Some feel they don’t need it since they already had COVID-19, even though the vaccines can still prevent re-infection with a new variant.
But many are worried about the cost. Not just for the vaccine, which should be free, but the time cost. They may work long hours for low pay, finding time to look for a vaccine is a challenge, not to mention the time it takes to go to an appointment or wait in line. Then add in the real worries about side effects that may put them out of work for a day or more, you can start to understand why many are not vaccinated yet. Especially with a two dose vaccine. Many don’t understand the system, can’t read or may not speak English, maybe they are homeless. For them, getting a vaccine can seem out of reach, if not impossible. I have had trouble helping some of my patients find a vaccine, since we are not giving it in my building. They are dependent on public transportation, not wanting to take a long bus ride and then wait in line in a crowd. They felt too vulnerable and exposed.
Creative outreach is being done though. The firefighters in Seattle are doing popups all over town, no appointment needed. Some of my vulnerable patients got theirs that way, such a relief. You can get yours this week at a pop up in my neighborhood given by our local fire station at a pub. Get your jab and a pint too, (of beer or ice cream!) after going to the Phinney Garage sale first.
The easier we make it for people to get their jabs the better. One reason the J&J is popular is because it is a one and done deal. My worry about the areas where the rates are lower was also expressed in the New York Times article about the vulnerable not being vaccinated. Those areas with low rates of vaccinations will be vulnerable to continued outbreaks and since they are not protected, more serious illness and death.
If you know of people you can help, please do. Things are looking up, the sun is shining, tunes are being played again, songs are being sung, and hugs are going around.
Wash your hands, cover your nose, when needed, keep safe six in crowded areas.
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.