With COVID-19 hospitalizations surging amongst unvaccinated individuals, it is more important than ever to reject Coronavirus misinformation and get vaccinated for the sake of yourself and the community around you.
By: Brent Dondalski
Right now, about 1.1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations consist of vaccinated individuals, and only .08% of COVID-19deaths were vaccinated people according to AP News. Yet, we have approximately 160,000 new cases in the U.S. now compared to the relatively modest 40,000 new cases exactly a year ago (Worldometer). The scenario is clear: the eradication of COVID-19 eradication depends on unvaccinated people more than anyone else.
If you are not vaccinated yet, I encourage you to get vaccinated. Nearly every reputable medical authority recommends the COVID-19 vaccine and emphasizes its extreme unlikelihood to harm an individual. 96% of doctors are vaccinated as of June 11th 2021 according to the American Medical Association. You are far more likely to contract COVID-19 and die than you are to have an adverse reaction to the vaccine. You are doing everybody around you an immeasurable favor by getting vaccinated.
With that said, the pandemic continues to rage on, decimating almost exclusively unvaccinated populations. There is a direct correlation between COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccination rates within any given state, with the least vaccinated states being hit the hardest. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 vaccination has been heavily politicized. Despite overwhelming scientific consensus on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, the trust in the shot remains partisan.
According to The New York Times, those who voted for Trump in the 2020 election are significantly less likely to have gotten vaccinations than Biden voters. This is an issue because even as unvaccinated populations are feeling the full wrath of the pandemic, they are still being discouraged from taking the vaccine by certain politicians and media figures.
Media moguls like Tucker Carlson share COVID-19 disinformation every night on television, despite the Fox News studio requiring all employees to be vaccinated. The vaccine not being FDA approved used to be a major talking point for anti-vax propagandists like Tucker Carlson, yet now the approval has come and the goalposts have shifted. Vaccine mandates are argued to be unconstitutional and a government overreach, despite George Washington having actually mandated smallpox inoculations across the military, contributing to the eradication of the disease.
Many of the anti vaccine stances are rooted in disinformation and a fundamental misunderstanding of epidemiology. People also sometimes argue that young healthy people tend to suffer less from COVID-19 than the elderly or those with health conditions, and that staying healthy is the best protection against COVID-19. Not only is this scientifically inaccurate, but this train of logic is a dead-end because elderly people or those with health conditions should absolutely not be considered more “expendable” than healthy adults.
Ultimately it is everybody’s responsibility, as human beings, to protect themselves and those around them. Not wearing a mask or not taking a vaccine is not simply a personal choice because one can carry the disease and spread it to others, who will in turn suffer because of that choice. Fortunately, the Biden administration understands this and that’s why the United States will be seeing that COVID-19 vaccines are mandated similar to other inoculations like the smallpox vaccine.
But we can only get so far. The mandates will help, but ultimately, the unvaccinated community must dwindle to as few people as possible if COVID-19 is to be eradicated. If COVID-19 continues to develop in our population, then the Delta variant will be the tip of the iceberg. More variants will develop, threatening even vaccinated people with contamination. The cruelest irony of this situation is that unvaccinated Americans are rejecting a free and easily accessible vaccine that less privileged countries would be grateful to have.
This vaccine hesitancy, which is difficult to separate from anti-mask rhetoric, is bizarre, anti-science, and quite arbitrary. People eat McDonald’s everyday, but are suddenly concerned about unknown substances in their bloodstream. Schools require smallpox vaccinations for students, but suddenly mandates are now government overreach. Surgeons wear masks all the time for procedures that last many hours, yet suddenly they are hard to breathe through.
The COVID vaccine should not be this extreme of a debate or issue, yet we have gotten to a crossroads where it might decide our civilization’s future.
Dr. Anita Sircar wrote an LA Times article detailing her experience in the ER throughout the pandemic, declaring “the burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated.’ On those who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to, a decision they defend by declaring, ‘Vaccination is a deeply personal choice.’ But perhaps never in history has anyone’s personal choice affected the world as a whole as it does right now. When hundreds and thousands of people continue to die—when the most vulnerable members of society, our children, cannot be vaccinated—the luxury of choice ceases to exist.”
Ryan Ford '23,