Story by Kara Wheeler, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Pexels.com
In what seems to have been the longest year in existence, many have been anticipating the development and distribution of a Coronavirus vaccine since its first mentions in the medical field and in the news.
As early as March 16, 2020, according to NBC news, U.S. researchers “gave the first shot to the first person” to test for a potential functioning vaccine in order to stop the widespread infection rate. This was only five days after Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared Michigan in a state of emergency. Little did we know, it would take nine more months and hundreds more vaccinations in hundreds more clinical trials to arrive at a Pfizer-BioTech and Moderna-NIAID Vaccine.
One of the most striking qualities about the vaccine is the miniscule amount of time it took to develop, test, and distribute it compared to any other vaccine in world history.
“60% of Amerians would say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine for the coronavirus” according to a poll at the Pew Research Center. However, only 4.3% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to USA today.
Why is there such a discrepancy between those who said they would receive the vaccine and those who have actually received it?
Firstly, states were left to their own to determine how they would roll out the vaccine. This is a difficult process. Secondly, hospitals are already overwhelmed and understaffed. The dysfunction of public healthcare matched with the important duty of vaccinating millions of people, and quickly, makes for a chaotic, inefficient, and unorganized attempt to get society back to normal. And finally, the vaccine is undersupplied. Many states saw the amount of vaccines sent to them diminish after the initial surge of doses were administered.
On top of its slow start in the United States, once one does receive the Pfizer vaccine, side effects may be an unwelcome guest. After the second dose, specifically, the side effects “typically lasted several days” and “were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever” according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
The side effects of the vaccines have been notable enough to trigger the United States and United Kingdom to say something about it. According to the CDC, they have advised those with “allergies to any component of the COVID vaccine not to receive it”.
The scariest part of the entire pandemic is not the symptoms, the social distancing, the mask wearing, but what we have seen our government and the governments of countries around the world capable of controlling.
I propose the mental implications of COVID-19 are far worse than the physical ones. The British Medical Journal reports “studies modelling the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%”. Not to mention the underlying causes of suicide: depression, anxiety, and issues in mental health, to be at an even higher case number.
The main issue with the COVID vaccine is the amount of information society does not know – both about the vaccine and the virus itself. Medical professionals are still confused about the virus, including how the human body responds. “The immune response”, according to the National Institute of Health , and “how long it lasts after infection have been unclear”.
How could a team of medical professionals possibly make an effective vaccine for a sickness we do not understand? Following this logic, the vaccine is a bandaid for a bullet hole. Or, more evidently, it is a bandaid for something that does not need to be covered in the first place.
On my own judgement, I will not be receiving the COVID vaccine. I had the coronavirus a month ago, as a twenty year old woman, and experienced symptoms that mimicked a child’s cold I was definitely forced to be sent to school with. Additionally, since having it 4 weeks ago, it would make logical sense that I possess the antibodies that made me both noninfectious and non transmittable. However, I am still required to wear a mask and social distance at all times when out in public, even though I am unable to give and receive COVID to/from others.
Think of those you know who have gotten the vaccine. Are they still wearing masks? Probably. They are not allowed to do anything in public without one. Think about where our society will be when we “finally” fix the roll-out issues of the vaccine and everyone is capable of receiving it. We will still be wearing masks, there will still be limitations to social gatherings, perpetuating the fear of a virus that is easily contagious but is less than seriously mortal.
Vaccinations are not the end-all be all. Especially for a virus such as this. There is no reason to believe that the only way to recover is to vaccinate every person when the virus we are vaccinating for has a mortality rate of 1.7%. This stat, too, is heavily biased.