Let’s all (continue to) get vaccinated

Prior to writing this article, I had a question that’s probably similar to the one you, the person reading this story right now, has. That question was this: 

“Is this article even necessary?”

This is a perfectly legitimate question. According to “Our World In Data” from the University of Oxford, 229 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given out to members of the U.S. population, and NPR reported earlier in April 2021 that more than half of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Yet, we still have a long way to go. A poll from Monmouth University in March 2021 showed that one out of every four Americans will refuse any vaccine. The New York Times reported on April 25 that more than five million people who received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have skipped their second. 

Additionally, the Washington Post reported that recent complications associated with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine have caused mistrust in that specific shot. 

My colleagues at CHIPS have already written articles this year about COVID-19, telling Luther students to obey seating guidelines in the cafeteria and properly wear masks in public spaces. Now, neither of these articles seemed to have a massive impact on the student population, as I literally watched someone the other day walk through the cafeteria with no mask on, breathing heavily on all the food before sitting down at a table with six others. 

But, Luther, I am pleading with you. If there is one article from CHIPS you take to heart, please let it be this one. There are so many reasons why you should get vaccinated, not only for yourself but for the health and wellbeing of the general public.

The first reason to get the vaccine is that it prevents you from getting COVID-19.

“Well, duh.”

Yes, this is fairly obvious, but it still has to be said. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna and yes, even J&J — have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. 

Additionally, these vaccines not only protect yourself, but they also protect people around you from getting COVID-19, specifically people who are at high-risk of getting sick. This includes older adults, people with severe medical conditions and pregnant women. 

That’s right folks: if you don’t get vaccinated you could potentially kill my 80-year-old grandfather, my mother with kidney disease, and my pregnant cousin. (Full disclosure, I don’t actually have a pregnant cousin, but I added it for emphasis.)

A second reason to get the vaccine is because it is the safest way to build protection against the virus. According to the CDC, each vaccine goes through clinical trials and must receive an Emergency Use Authorization (something granted by the Food and Drug Administration) that states the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh any known and potential risks. Furthermore, any of the vaccines provide more protection than the natural immunity given after a person gets sick. I don’t know about you, but this seems like a win-win situation: I get protection from COVID-19, and I don’t have to suffer through what the Washington Post called one of the most deadly viruses of all time. It’s a good trade-off, right?

A third and final reason to get the COVID-19 vaccine is that we can start getting back to normal. Just think of all the things you can do once you’re vaccinated! You can go to class without a mask, rehearse with your ensemble for more than a half hour, or even cram large groups of people into your severely undersized dorm room; the possibilities are endless! 

However, I do regretfully have to note that the CDC does not consider people fully vaccinated until two weeks after their final dose, and advises people to keep following COVID-19 rules and regulations in public spaces until the general spread of the virus is controlled. But, after these things happen, go crazy.

The last thing I’d like to say in this article is that I find vaccine hesitancy incredibly selfish, and frankly, stupid. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared vaccine hesitancy a top 10 global health threat in 2019, and to this I say: why? Yes, there’s justified distrust in the vaccine in communities of color because of their documented history of mistreatment by the medical system. 

However, many are choosing to not get the vaccine simply because of misinformation or willful ignorance (no, the government is not going to microchip you). If you’re simply choosing to not get the vaccine because you don’t want to, you’re putting the health and safety of yourself and others in danger. If you’re concerned about the facts of the vaccine, the CDC and the WHO have tons of information showing the vaccines are safe and effective.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I’d say it’s pretty simple. If you’re as sick of this pandemic as I am, you should look to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Take your friends and family too; even if it’s just the J&J vaccine, you’re effectively protecting yourself and others, and giving the world a better shot of stopping this pandemic (pun intended.)

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