Should You Get A COVID-19 Vaccine?
A cure or vaccine for COVID-19 has not been met with success, but trials and tests are underway. When a vaccine is ready, should you take it?
(If you need a refresher on the logistics of COVID-19, click here).
If your answer was No / Maybe / Unsure:
Anti-vaccine sentiment is not new, so you are not alone. But we are here to tell you a definitive - yes. You need to get the vaccine.
Uncertainty surrounding vaccines is also something that does occur. Whilst people often do not dismiss vaccines outright, they can still remain wary. This can be attributed to various reasons... but again, we strongly recommend that you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, granted it has been vetted and administered by an official source (government, registered doctor or clinic).
Why do we say yes?
“The [World Health Organization] has listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top threats to global health”, according to New York Times Writer Jan Hoffman in the article, How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States. We recommend you read the whole article here, to grasp the textured nature of this topic and how ‘anti-vaccine’ sentiment can stem from the USA.
In summary, misinformation and the unfounded rejection of science often fuel false ideas around the safety of vaccines. Michael Specter notes this ‘danger of science denial’ in an informative Ted Talk that you can access here.
Anti-vaccine sentiment therefore often accompanies fears or ‘risks’ of other diseases. We advocate extensive research that is specific to whatever vaccine you are curious about. Overall, the science behind most vaccines shows that they actually boost people's resistance to numerous diseases.
But, they can only be effective if everyone gets them. This refers to herd immunity “the term that describes the optimum rate for protecting an entire population”, according to Hoffman.
This means that a large part of the population needs to be vaccinated, as much as 95% with some highly infectious diseases. So we need high co-operation levels in order to have a high success rate in preserving life.
So now that you know the answer is Yes. Read the next paragraph.
If your answer was Yes:
You are correct. But this serves as a reminder that cultural misconceptions, suspicion of science and western technologies can influence one’s perception of vaccines and the medical field as a whole. Approaching ‘anti-vaxxers’ with disdain and contempt does little to convince them of the importance of vaccines. A fascinating and eye opening book to consider is by Bernice L Hausman, the chair of the Department of Humanities at the Penn State University College of Medicine, titled Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy. This book notes the myriad of perspectives and experiences that need to be considered and acknowledged, as the topic of vaccination is layered on a number of levels. Although the answer is a definitive yes, sensitivity is required to promote co-operation.
The Status of a COVID-19 Vaccine:
Vaccines take time to be created. A pandemic can speed this up as scientific focus is largely concentrated on one main goal. Watch Dan Kwartlers Ted Talk here, about how fast a vaccine can be made. Interestingly, the fastest rollout for a vaccine was the Mumps vaccine at the "short" time of four years. Click here to read more about the complexities of its creation.
We also recommend that you frequently keep abreast of progress surrounding vaccine production, both locally and globally.
For now, one of the South Africa trials to monitor is the Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial. Shabir Madhi (Professor of Vaccinology and Director of the MRC Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand) breaks this down in an article that you can access here.
Until a COVID-19 Vaccine is Distributed:
Although vaccine trials are taking place, a definitive timeline is often tricky to pin down. In the meantime, it is vital that everyone remains vigilant and consistently follows sanitation procedures and the recommended safety measures. Everyone should be familiar with these by now, but if you need a reminder click here to visit the CDC’s website.
We have also compiled a list of COVID-19 symptoms as a reminder.
Keeping a lookout for these symptoms and obeying safety measures is a vital part of staying safe until a vaccine is ready. Making use of reliable equipment, that is of the highest quality, is also fundamental. Browse through our products to ensure you are COVID-19 ready at all times. We hope to be a part of helping you stay healthy.