If anyone is the blame for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy amongst Americans its politicians who have exploited the vaccine for their political agendas.
By Emmanuel Simon
Many Americans are ecstatic that COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available for the general public, thinking that the world can finally return back to normal once enough people are vaccinated. Yet, there are a minority of Americans who remain skeptical of whether they should get the COVID-19 vaccine in its current form. Given the utter inconsistency of how America was and is handling the vaccine, I don’t blame them.
Many of us still remember current Vice President Kamala Harris’ words and attitude regarding the development of the COVID-19 vaccine during her Vice-Presidential debate with Pence. “If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take [the COVID-19 vaccine], I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely. If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it.” Vice President Harris has severely damaged the vaccine’s credibility since most of its development was done under the Trump administration. Yet, even though Trump advocates for others to get vaccinated, Harris still decided to get the vaccine.
Furthermore, the governor of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, has also damaged the credibility of the vaccine prior to the Biden/Harris administration. In an interview, the governor is recorded saying, “you’re going to say to the American people now, ‘here’s a vaccine, it was new, it was done quickly, but trust this federal administration and their health administration that it’s safe? And we’re not one-hundred-percent sure of the consequences.’ I think it’s going to be a very skeptical American public about taking the vaccine, and they should be.” Here, the governor seems to have a point, the vaccine is new, was done quickly, and we’re not one-hundred-percent sure of its consequences. Hence, the CDC claims, “...The FDA and CDC continue to monitor Vaccine safety to make sure even long-term side effects are identified.” In other words, the CDC and FDA have to pay attention to the vaccine in order to learn more about the short and long term side effects, implying that they don’t know what all the side effects are. But because they do not know all the side effects of the vaccine, it logically follows that they do not know whether some of the side effects are more deadly than the virus itself! There is, therefore, good reason to be skeptical of the vaccine in its current state. But now, Governor Cuomo flopped on the issue. On April 1st, the governor took pride in the fact that more than 9.5 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across New York. One would hope that Cuomo’s utter inconsistency is merely an April fools joke rather than a failure to properly reason.
One who is skeptical about taking the vaccine might wonder how it was that Vice President Harris and Governor Cuomo felt more comfortable with taking and administering the vaccine. Former President Trump advocates for people to take the vaccine, so why did Harris decide to take it, given her stance? What made Cuomo more certain that there is nothing to fear in receiving the vaccine? One wonders whether there was anything to fear in the first place and whether Harris and Cuomo merely put on an act to show their disgust and disapproval with Trump. If such is the case, then Harris and Cuomo were and are playing politics with people’s lives.
But, giving Harris and Cuomo the benefit of the doubt, let’s suppose that the skepticism toward the vaccine was justifiable six months ago. Is it still justifiable now?
Well, let’s see. One might think that those who get both doses of the vaccine no longer have to be masked since such persons would be immune to the virus. Apparently, that's not the case. We are told that one can still be a carrier of the virus even if one is vaccinated and does not feel any symptoms. For that reason, one must remain masked. Furthermore, according to the ‘experts’, the vaccine isn’t fully effective, and therefore one might be able to get sick from the virus. For this reason, one must continue to act as if one were an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Again, to echo Cuomo’s earlier words, we don’t even know whether the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its side effects. Finally, at our college, students who are either vaccinated or unvaccinated still need to take a COVID-19 test. Looking at all these facts, it should be obvious that there isn’t any benefit for people who aren’t at risk to take the vaccine, since one still has to live as if one were not vaccinated, and, as seen earlier from the CDC’s implication, the long term effects of the current vaccines are unknown, and therefore may or may not be more detrimental than COVID-19 itself. We just don’t know.
Personally, I’m not even against getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If I am given an opportunity to receive the vaccine and I think it prudent to take it at that given moment, I see no reason why I shouldn’t get it. But, those skeptical about taking the vaccine make a powerful case as to why one should be skeptical, and their justifications shouldn’t go unnoticed. Their reasons have persuaded me to wait a bit longer before taking the vaccine, and, until their justifications are no longer valid, I see no reason why any person not at risk of the virus should hurry to take the vaccine.
Harris on taking the Trump Administration’s Vaccine: https://twitter.com/ABC/status/1314013262082723840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1314013262082723840%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fkamala-harris-rejects-a-coronavirus-vaccine-from-trump-2020-10
Cuomo on COVID Vaccine skepticism:
Link from the CDC including a section on serious, long-term, or unknown side effects:
Madison Sciba '24,