Don’t block light at end of tunnel: Get Covid-19 vaccination

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Lauren Bishop

Dasha Kosack

The world has awaited a sign of hope for the pandemic to conclude. With a recently innovated vaccine, that sign may have finally arrived. If the government can effectively distribute the vaccine and protect the American people, the end of stay-home advisories, isolation, and losses due to the virus is within reach. 

COVID-19 is not going to go away by itself. Unless people take responsibility and get the vaccination when it becomes available to them, the dreaded year of 2020 could evolve into the isolated 20’s. Maintaining partisanship over the vaccine will cost money, supplies, and lives. Believing everything on the internet has never been a good idea, and now it poses a direct threat to human health.  

In an ideal world, the vaccine would be quickly distributed and accepted. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that for every 100 people that get the vaccine, 90 will be protected. To create herd immunity, approximately 60 percent of the population would have to receive a minimum of two doses of the vaccine. However, according to a YouGov poll, only 42 percent of Americans said “yes” to whether or not they would get the vaccine. 

Public health officials are calling these statistics “a train wreck waiting to happen”. Two main issues deter people from wanting the life-saving vaccine: politicization and misinformation. 

According to the National Law Review, “Mixed messages from the administration that masks are not needed, that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu and that infection and death rates are inflated clash with its own Operation Warp Speed program created to buy and distribute hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine to Americans”. 

Polarization has divided people’s actions out of spite for at least this past presidential term. Republicans and Democrats now seem to make decisions depending on whether or not their counterpart will protest it. This time is different. Failure to unify Republicans and Democrats on accepting the vaccine is a matter of life or death. The longer herd immunity is delayed, the more infections and more lives will be lost in the process. 

According to NBC News, “A report by the London-based nonprofit organization Center for Countering Digital Hate found that the anti-vaccination movement gained about 8 million followers since 2019. Conspiracy theories about a coming Covid-19 vaccine have flooded social media, particularly on Instagram and Facebook, according to a new report from First Draft, a global nonprofit organization that researches online misinformation”.

The Trump administration failed to effectively educate the public about the health crisis at hand. Lack of proper and protective actions by the government have drawn out the pandemic far longer than countries like New Zealand and Japan, according to a study by Bloomberg.

Conspiracy theories like population control, a government “deep state”, and even satan damage the reputation of an effective solution to the virus. With more people believing social media posts and hypothetical situations, the number of people willing to get the vaccine moves in the wrong direction. More people need to understand the risks of not getting the vaccine posed to themselves and others. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, do not block it out.