Vaccination Vacillation

Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are available to anyone in the United States who is 16-years or older, some people are having to come up with more excuses of why they are not getting vaccinated.

A number of my patients say they’re just waiting and don’t want to be, “a guinea pig.” Sure, technically so far the FDA only approved them for emergency use, but over 200 million doses have been administered in our country alone, and almost 1 billion doses of all COVID vaccines have been given world wide. So you’d hardly be the one experimented on. I hear people say they just want to wait and see. If you saw a fire in one room of your house, would you wait to see if it would spread before calling the fire department?

Many people are worried about side effects, particularly after the recent hold on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Yes, the rare blood clots are concerning, however they are rare (less than one in a million) and seem to be mainly in younger women. Although those clots are little different, and possibly similar to the kind we sometimes see with the blood thinner heparin, the overall risk of blood clots if you get infected with COVID-19 or take birth control pills is far higher.

People tell me they don’t feel the need to get vaccinated since they don’t get out much and they take precautions. That’s all well and good, but besides that you can’t completely eliminate the risk, is that how you want to spend the rest of your life?

Ninety-nine percent of people survive, so why get vaccinated, some people say. Besides that many of those surviving people can get pretty sick and have symptoms that last a long time, and may possibly be permanent, a 1% risk of dying is still high. Imagine that 99 of your friends and family were going to join you for a get together at a tropical resort for a vacation. Would you go if you knew that one person would die in a plane crash as a result of taking that trip?

If I haven’t convinced you that COVID-19 is a serious disease, perhaps you’d like to take a trip to Brazil, where recently they had an average of 177 people per hour die of the disease. Prefer not to travel overseas? How about Michigan? They may have just passed their peak, but they recently have had over 4000 cases a day and 61 people dying on Sunday and Monday, and a case fatality rate of 2.1%.

Most everyone should get vaccinated, not only for themselves, but for others. As long as there are a lot of cases in the world, due to natural selection, it will tend to mutate to become more infectious, and potentially more dangerous. The faster we reach herd immunity, the sooner things can go back to closer to how they were before the pandemic. It’s better to be part of the herd from having been vaccinated, rather than just infected.

Author: Daniel Ginsberg, MD, FACP

I'm an internal medicine physician and have avidly applied computers to medicine since 1986, when I wrote my first medically oriented computer programs. So yes, that means I'm at least 35-years-old!

One thought on “Vaccination Vacillation”

  1. 100 years ago, my grandmother and baby were buried together, previously two preschoolers, later high school aunt.
    Flu and consumption I am told. Only family survivors, my dad, my grandfather and great grand father. I am 80, all shots and thankful to you and others. Tom Pitts

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