I am pro-vaccine. I believe in science and in the public health model.
When I was in high school, I read an essay called The Tragedy of the Commons. It basically said that if people acted in their own self-interest rather than in the interest of the group, tragedy would result. Resources would be depleted. To survive as a species, you need cooperation.
This applies to vaccines. There may be a small individual risk to vaccines. A person acting in their own self-interest might avoid the vaccine, trusting others to take the small risk. If all others get the vaccine, herd immunity results, and the person who avoided the vaccine, not only avoids the vaccine risk, they gain the benefit of the group action. With everyone else vaccinated, the virus is much less apt to make its way through the population and infect the individual.
Of course, if everyone acts in their own perceived self-interest and refuses the vaccine, then everyone is at much higher risk of getting the virus. Herd immunity is never achieved and the virus runs rampant through the commons. The individual is at a much higher risk. The society is f—ed.
The same scenario applies to face masks. If people exercise their “liberty” to not wear masks, then the virus spreads much more rapidly among the commons and increases everyone’s risks, where if people are willing to wear the masks for the common good, the virus is less likely to spread to the benefit of all.
My parents made certain I had all my childhood vaccines. I never had to worry about getting polio because of the great success of the polio vaccine.
I get the flu vaccine every year. I understand that because the flu mutates and there are many strains. The vaccine makers are not certain how effective each year’s vaccine will be, but in general I believe the science that says it will make me less likely to get the flu or if I do get it, it is more likely to be mild.
The world has high hopes that science will save the day and come up with an effective vaccine for COVID-19. I hope we get one, but I am nervous, particularly when there is talk of rushing standard safety protocols. Some have speculated there will be political pressure put on the FDA to approve a vaccine prior to the general election in November.
Today, the nine largest companies involved in the vaccine race issued a joint letter pledging to make certain their vaccines were safe before seeking federal approval to market them. Let’s hope they mean it.
Vaccines need to be fully trialed. They need to be safe. Rushing a vaccine for political or other reasons can jeopardize not only lives of those who receive the vaccines, but the entire system of vaccinations, which is already under attack by “non-believers.”
I have read that first responders will be the first to be offered the COVID vaccine when it is approved.
Will I get it?
Will I accept it even if I feel it has been rushed and safety measures bypassed?
Yes, I will.
I am willing to be a test subject in the interest of the community. But I won’t let my kids get the shot until I am convinced that it is safe.
There is an interesting survey on EMS attitudes on the flu and COVID vaccines at EMS1.com.