COVID-19 Vaccine Fears Justified
According to history.com, it took more than 10 years for scientists to develop a single-shot vaccine for measles – one that wouldn’t cause high fevers and rashes.
The COVID-19 vaccine took less than a year. Health experts say the vaccine went through many tests to determine it was safe and effective before it was approved, but still, that’s a huge disparity.
Developing a vaccine is a complex process, one that takes, in many instances, up to 15 years.
It’s not something you rush. But, with over 100 million people infected with COVID-19 globally and nearly three million dead because of the virus, scientists had to do something.
Despite criticism, vaccines remain one of the greatest achievements in public health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diseases like smallpox and rinderpest have been completely eliminated thanks to vaccines.
Smallpox, which was one of the deadliest diseases the world has known, killed up to 300 million people in the 20thcentury.
Meantime, rinderpest, known as cattle plague, is believed to have killed 80 to 90 percent of all cattle in eastern and southern Africa due to an outbreak in the 1890s.
Despite the success of vaccines to eliminate those diseases, and prevent many others, many people still doubt their efficacy. They also believe they hurt more than they help.
Bahamas Begins Administering Covid-19 Vaccine
In The Bahamas, health officials have begun administering the vaccine. Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis and his wife were among the first to receive it.
Officials say 20,000 vaccine doses are available and 34,000 more are expected before the end of March.
Despite the prime minister’s insistence that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, many Bahamians are still doubtful and say they will not get the vaccine.
Let’s be clear. I’m no anti-vaxxer. I support vaccines. I have avoided getting many diseases thanks to vaccines and I encourage people to get them.
But, I also understand that some Bahamians are seriously scared and suspicious.
Those who feel the vaccine was rushed fear serious side effects, so they are taking a wait-and-see approach. They’re mostly waiting to see if those who opt to take the vaccine will get sick, or even worse, die.
I’ll be the first to admit that I judged those opposed to the vaccine. I have gotten into heated debates with strangers, friends and relatives who say they won’t take the vaccine.
I thought they were irresponsible conspiracy theorists with dangerous views. And while I have no tolerance for those spreading misinformation, I certainly am beginning to understand the fear many people have.
People have a right to question something that could potentially hurt them. Vaccines aren’t perfect.
Serious Issues With Covid-19 Vaccine
In Denmark, two people suffered brain hemorrhages after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. One of them died. The other – a woman – is critically ill.
According to the New York Times, the Danish Medicines Agency is now investigating to see if the brain hemorrhages are a side effect.
“Recent blood clots and abnormal bleeding in a small number of vaccine recipients in European countries raised questions about its safety, and prompted the suspensions. That created a disruptive pause in vaccination campaigns this week, even as some European countries were entering a third wave of infections,” the New York Times said.
Even though the report notes that it was a small number, which of us wants to be in that pool?
Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman, Sonny Miller recently admitted that many police officers are reluctant to get vaccinated.
It was a sad admission considering that more than 240 officers had contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Health officials have their work cut out for them. It will be tough convincing many people of the safety of the vaccine. But, the education process must be sustained. And it cannot be condescending.
People have genuine concerns and we must seek to allay those concerns by constantly giving reassurances.
Health officials must also monitor what’s going on in Denmark and other parts of Europe.
While we’re thankful that we now have a line of defence, we cannot afford any deaths or serious injury due to the vaccine.
Bahamians also have a duty to educate themselves and stay on top of developments. Do independent research and challenge authorities with facts, not emotion and lies.
Bahamians Have To Remain Vigilant
It is imperative that we eliminate this virus if we want to return to some semblance of normalcy.
We cannot be so fearful of the vaccine that we stop fearing the actual disease. COVID-19 remains a very serious threat.
CNN recently reported that COVID-19 death rates are 10 times higher in countries where most adults are overweight. Bahamas anyone?
For those with non-communicable diseases like diabetes, the severity of COVID-19 is tripled. Scientists say those with diabetes experience more serious complications and are more likely to die from the virus.
In The Bahamas, there have been 8,800 cases and 186 deaths. According to officials, 7,676 people have since recovered and there are more than 930 active cases.
Worldwide, there are 123,423,636 COVID-19 cases and 2,721,411 deaths. More than 99,410,850 people have recovered.
US President Joe Biden has already ordered US states to begin making COVID-19 vaccines available to all American adults no later than May 1.
Royal Caribbean International, which plans to start sailing cruises in the Caribbean in June, announced last week that it would require vaccines for all of its adult passengers and crew members.