This Straight, No Chaser discusses expected challenges in getting the American population to take a COVID-19 vaccine. America has an emerging vaccine problem, and per routine, it’s going to be exacerbated in the African American community. (I discuss that further in the next post.) This nation has managed to politicize wearing masks and returning to school. Unfortunately, it appears the same will occur with the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
Are We Already Against Taking a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Separate polls taken within the last few weeks show that only about 43% of US citizens are committed to taking an approved vaccine. Additionally, another 28% of us are wavering. A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post shows that 27% of adults are in the “firm no” category. The demographics of the most opposed are of interest. 45% of “strong conservatives” and 40% of Republicans lead the groups most firmly against taking any vaccine. In general, the quest to come up with a vaccine at breakneck speed has been met the world over. Some of the biggest and best (and admittedly some that aren’t) pharmaceutical companies have joined the effort. Keep in mind, entities like the US FDA will have several COVID-19 vaccine versions from which it gets to choose to make available to the public. That hasn’t happened yet. The data is not in. Yes, this is happening much quicker than in the past. However, we’re in a pandemic, remember? Keep in mind this country already has a slew of antivaccine activity, and much of the most outlandish fears have been stirred up by these groups. Conspiracy theorists would have you think it’s impossible to create an effective vaccine this quickly, that the approval process will be entirely profit-based, the FDA won’t protect the population entirely in service of a political agenda and the vaccine itself will be a bigger threat than the disease that’s already claimed half a million lives around the world.
What’s Needed to Stop the Pandemic
Epidemiologists estimate that to stop the pandemic, approximately 70% of the population has to develop immunity. This only occurs in one of two ways: either becoming infected and developing long-term antibodies or receiving an effective vaccine. Given the current data showing the dissipation of post-infection antibodies after a few months, the vaccine route becomes even more important. The WHO has listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of 10 major global health threats.
Many of you express the desire to support all in the global and American communities. As such, you must come to understand that getting vaccinated is a major component of that sentiment. Not getting vaccinated will become akin to not wearing a mask today. When I tell you I will be up front getting the vaccine, that’s not an expression of blind faith. Consider that shorthand for “I’ll certainly do my part to take a vaccine that has been shown to be effective in producing sustainable antibiotics against COVID-19 after being studied in multiple randomized, double-blinded clinical trials and has been signed off on by the CDC, FDA, WHO and the American Medical Association.”
This is another example of my appeal to you. Don’t allow your health interests and decisions to be guided or hijacked by your fears. Allow yourselves to be open to science. If it’s not there, certainly make the appropriate decision. However, please don’t close yourselves off at the beginning of the process.
Part II of this discussion looks at anti-vaccination inclinations among African Americans. Also, It highlights what that means for its community.