Anti-Vaxxers May Jeopardize Ability to Return to Normal

By Madeline McCarthy

Recently there have been some moderately positive reports of COVID-19 vaccinations. It seems that there are multiple vaccines going through clinical trials at this moment. 

Once a COVID vaccine is finally ready for public use, administering it to as many members of the population as possible will be important. It is unclear whether or not the vaccination will be a one time shot, like the chickenpox vaccine, or if it will be given out seasonally like the flu shot. Either way, getting the vaccine will help us recover from this global pandemic.

Vaccines go through extensive testing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are generally three phases of clinical trials that have to happen after a vaccination is developed. Even after that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the vaccination after many applications are completed (this is specific to the United States but there are guidelines that the World Health Organization has as well). Long story short, vaccines are not just thrown out into the public before they’re ready.

A problem that could be on the horizon is from people who already don’t believe in vaccinations. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has a History of Vaccines webpage that has lots of valuable information behind the science of vaccines. The website also has a long history of anti vaccination movements dating back to the early 1800s. 

The modern day anti-vaccination movement can be mostly attributed to two things. First, a study done in 1998 by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefeild linked the MMR vaccine to the development of autism in children. Eventually it was discovered that he had been paid to falsify information, which ultimately got his medical license revoked and the study retracted. Unfortunately, the study went wild in the media and caused a panic among many.

Second, a mercury compound also loosely linked to autism has caused even more fear about vaccinations. The CDC says that there is no link to this mercury compound and autism, and that its use is safe because our bodies get rid of it very quickly. It is barely used anymore.

This being said, I understand young parents’ initial concern about vaccinating their children. But the problem I think many of them face is their own confirmation bias, which is when someone interprets “evidence” in a way that will confirm the views they already hold. If you only look at information to further what you already believe, you’ll never have the opportunity to find the most reliable information.

Another concern I have is about people who think that the coronavirus has been exaggerated. Same with people who don’t wear masks because they think they’re useless, I am wondering about what will happen when a vaccine does come out. If somebody believes that COVID is “just a flu” they might feel that getting a vaccine for it is pointless.

To those people, I will put it this way. You might think that COVID is overhyped, but many of the establishments that we live among do not. It doesn’t matter if you think that getting COVID is no big deal if stores, bars, schools, government officials, and health officials do. Your life will not be able to return to normal until this pandemic gets under control to those standards. 

So, if you want to be able to travel to Europe, go to packed nightclubs, go maskless at a grocery store, and not pay thousands of dollars for Zoom University, you need to do your part when the time comes to get a vaccine.

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