Nothing reveals the separation and fracture of our modern society more than how people think about the Covid-19 vaccine. In my bubble of the world, my patients, friends and colleagues are scrambling to get it. They feel deprived if they are not yet "on the list" and there seems to be no question about the efficacy. Contrast that to people in other areas who are "anti-vaxers" and are filled with suspicion and worry.
I got a newsletter today from a patient-oriented "natural" site that was filled with article after article about fears of allergic reactions, risks to patients, death from vaccine, ineffectiveness of vaccine, heart attack after vaccine, getting Covid after vaccine, and "red flags" about the vaccine. All of this in one newsletter.
For Americans who question science and/or believe there is a conspiracy about everything that comes from the government or big business, these communications on mass media find their mark. It's nearly impossible to respond to each and every concern with the data that proves it wrong. Who has that amount of time? I don't. And many of these well-intentioned people don't believe data anyway.
Let me put it all in perspective. Today there are close to 400,000 deaths from Covid in the US and that number is climbing. Thousands of patients who survive are suffering aftermaths and continued health problems. The economy is in shambles, poverty is rising, longevity has declined, education is suffering and mental health problems due to the virus are increasing.
In miraculous, record time, WE HAVE A VACCINE.
That vaccine is 95% effective for Covid-19. In the research trial, of the 32,000 people who received the vaccine, only one got severe Covid. ONE! Over 11 million patients have been vaccinated safely in the United States. Those statistics are pretty darn convincing.
And we need to start educating people about the difference between "allergic reactions", "side-effects" and "expected outcomes". A sore arm is an expected outcome. Redness and swelling at the site of the vaccine is also expected as are headaches, slight fever and body aches after a vaccine.
(In case you are interested in a controlled study of one - I had a sore arm and a slight headache)
An "allergic reaction" is anaphylaxis or collapse and difficulty breathing. There were 21 cases of anaphylaxis that occurred within 15 minutes of receiving the Pfizer vaccine after almost 2 million vaccines were administered. There has been a cluster of allergic reactions (less than 10) to the Moderna vaccine in San Diego that is currently being investigated. If a person has had anaphylaxis to vaccines or medications before, they are advised to wait on getting the vaccine. There have been no known deaths from receiving the vaccine. The cluster of deaths of very old and frail people in Norway has been extensively examined and proven to be non-vaccine related.
We are living through a historic moment in humankind. It's 2021, not 1346 (when the Black Plague began). We have the advantage of modern science, instant world-wide connection with the internet and
close to 100% literacy in the US. Any risk associated with the Covid-19 vaccine is not zero because nothing in life has zero risk. So lets quit questioning the vaccine and get our lives back.