Friday, 26 February 2021

Why Too Many people Still Reject COVID - 19 Vaccines ?



Why Rejected COVID -19 Vaccines ?


If you're feeling impatient waiting your turn for a COVID -19 vaccine, here's a little good news for your info : Angela Padgett will gladly give you her place in line -  at least for now. Padgett, president of a day spa in Raleigh, N.C., is under no illusions about the mortal danger the pandemic poses in July 2020. But as for the vaccine that is supposed to put an end to all of the suffering at last? Not Today.


" I am a little bit hesitant, " Angela says. " I can appreciate President Trump trying to get this moving fast and I've taken pretty much every vaccine for other diseases. But I think it was rushed through very early, very quickly. So I would like a little more data."


Padgett is not alone. According to a December 2020 reports and survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center, nearly 40% of Americans say they will definitely not or probably not get the COVID -19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Gallup polls put the number of 37%. That's bad news not just for the vaccine refusers themselves but for the public as a whole. Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had previously concluded that achieving herd immunity - the point at which a population is sufficiently vaccinated that a spreading virus can't find enough new hosts - would require anywhere from 60% to 70% of Americans to take the vaccines. But lately, he and others have been inching that number upward, now estimating that herd immunity could require as much as 85% vaccine coverage.


The holdouts have multiple reasons for their reluctance. There are, of course, the dead-enders in the anti-vax community, for whom no vaccine is safe or acceptable. There is, too, a fraction peddling conspiracy theories about the COVID -19 vaccines in particular. As one falsely goes, the disease is caused by 5G cell towers, so a vaccine would be useless against it. (The rumor has been repeatedly debunked on Snopes.com and other sites). Another spuriously claims the vaccines are a plot by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - or, alternately, Elon Musk - to inject microchips into Americans. That last one - debunked here, here and elsewhere - has gained enough traction in the fever - swamp corners of the Internet that it prompted a rare acknowledgement from Bill Gates himself. " It doesn't help that there are false conspiracy theories about vaccines.


But most people in the COVID -19 vaccine hesitancy camp are more rational, more measured - informed enough not to believe the crazy talk, but worried enough not to want to be at the head of the link for a new vaccine. " For first responders and for older people with underlying conditions it's a godsend," says Padgett. " But I do believe this was rushed. I'm reasonably healthy. Six months to a year just to get more data on it is what I'd need to be vaccinated."


For all the urgency to get as many vaccines into as many arms as possible, the reluctance of such a large swath of the population to be among the early adopters is not completely without merit.


Finally there are the side effects. Anaphylaxis - or a severe allergic reaction - is possible with any vaccine, though medical protocols call for people who have received the shot to wait 15 minutes before they leave so that they can be treated if they do have a reaction. More troubling are spotty reports of Bell's palsy - partial facial paralysis - following COVID -19 vaccinations. But those numbers are exceedingly small. One false Facebook posting purported to be from a nurse in Nashville who got the vaccine and suffered Bell's palsy, but that too has been debunked, as repeated searches have turned up no nurse in the Tennessee health system under that name. All the same, it sparked outsized fear of a real but minimal risk.


" There were four cases of Bell's palsy within a month or month and a half in the Pfizer trial out of 22,000 recipients," Offit says. " So that works out to roughly eight per 10,000 per year. " Such a case count may be low, but it does exceed the average background rate of Bell's palsy in the general population, which is 1.2 per 10,000 per year, Offit says. Other sources put the incidence as a somewhat higher 2.3 per 10,000.


Armed with numbers like that, however, humans are not always terribly good at calculating risk. On the one hand even an eight in 10,000 chance of contracting facial paralysis does sound scary; on the other hand, about one out every, 1,000 American was killed by COVID -19 this past year (2020). The mortal arithmetic here is easy to do - and argues strongly in favor of getting the shots.


So too does the way the vaccines were developed - which is actually not as rushed as the calendar would make it seem. The Pfizer - BioTech and Moderna vaccines both use mRNA - or messenger RNA - to prompt the body to produce a coronavirus spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. That is a novel method for making a vaccine, but the basic research was by no means conducted within the last year.



@ Jackie San


1 comment:

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