Set Aside Your Political Pride: Why it is Important to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
by Olivia Bretzman ’22
As many are aware, the recent push to get the COVID-19 vaccination has caused many debates and issues within families and among people with different political and religious beliefs. Instead of seeing the vaccine as a tool for protecting oneself and others, many people are hyper-aware of the different vaccines, their effects, and the perceived risks that one takes in receiving them.
This debate and the controversies that come with it must stop; everyone, including students, need to set aside their politics, emotions, and propriety to keep themselves and each other safe and, ultimately, to restore a sense of freedom, normalcy, and health to our world.
COVID-19 is absolutely not, the only pandemic that mankind has faced. Humans have dealt with raging diseases as early as 430 B.C. when an unknown, deadly microbe took out two-thirds of the Athenian population. More notably, the Black Death, the Columbian exchange, Cholera, the Spanish flu, and even epidemics as recent as HIV and SARS in 2003 have affected the world in detrimental ways. As time passes, so do epidemics and pandemics, and, in turn, humans respond.
The interesting aspect of these diseases is the response. Humans suffering from any of the aforementioned diseases would have done anything for a cure: an explanation to their illness, some preventative medications or measures, and most definitely a vaccine. Thus, it is truly mind-boggling that during one of the most horrific pandemics our world has seen, many people are refusing to get the vaccine because of rumors and myths that frame the vaccine in a negative light.
Many people have legitimate health concerns about the vaccine, which are more than understandable. If someone is allergic to the vaccine, please do not get it. In other arguments, though, one must accept the actual scientific facts surrounding the vaccine, its production, its side effects, and its availability to make a fully informed, politic-free decision.
The vaccine came fast. This is, of course, a startling fact considering the amount of time it often takes for other cures and vaccines to arrive. However, one must realize the tremendous investments of both money and time that fast-tracked this process. This was not simply an overnight fix, and scientists, doctors, and the CDC would not recommend the vaccine were it not safe.
Every vaccine has side effects. Some people react to their flu shot in a similar manner as the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people get blood clots and similar side effects because of a vaccine or medication even if it has been out for years, has been approved by the FDA, and then studied afterwards for any side effects.
Many people are hesitant to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the U.S. halted its distribution out of an abundance of caution in order to investigate its association with blood clots. However, the CDC explains, “This adverse event is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare.”
This possible side effect is extremely rare and is hardly a risk when one looks at all the other vaccines and medications such as certain birth control pills that cause blood clots in young women at higher rates. Relatively speaking, 7 per 1 million young women is a miniscule percentage.
In fact, every day, humans take a risk by simply walking out their door into the outside world. Who knows what side effects could loom around the corner? Side effects are a part of life.
This science should back up the fact that the J & J vaccine is safe to get after considering your past medical health and personal circumstances. Moreover, not only is the J & J vaccine effective and protective, but any of the other COVID-19 vaccines, no matter what people say about them, are also suitable to receive. Do not let vaccine biases fool you.
Herein still lies the question, “Why should I get a vaccine?” Well, quite frankly, if you are still complaining about wearing your mask and having to stick to small gatherings, you should probably get vaccinated to speed up this slow process.
In all seriousness, the vaccine helps to protect vulnerable people in your life such as your grandparents or friends with disabilities and autoimmune disorders. Even more amazingly, the vaccine has proven to have real results.
Although there are so many claims surrounding the various vaccines and their validity, regardless of one’s beliefs, we as Americans and students at Providence College can come together under the common desire for a bit more freedom in our daily lives and a restoration of livelihoods. Not only can we find reason for vaccinations, but response, renewal, and repose in a decision that will ultimately save lives.