Bridging the Divided

A Nation Polarizing Over A Vaccine…..

Does it feel like our little corner of the world is polarizing over the  COVID vaccines? The vaccers vs. the anti-vaccers? Is the media feeding COVID fears? Are the vaccines safe? 

There have always been vaccers and anti-vaccers. Autism related to vaccines was a hot topic back in the day when I was a young mom,  hanging with other young moms. That theory was proven false. 

All vaccines are not without possible complications, not just COVID vaccines. Schools send out notices to update vaccinations before the school year starts, and parents oblige without concern. But mention COVID vaccines, and the heated debates ensue. 

Vaccines have all but eradicated deadly diseases like smallpox, polio, and measles. Unfortunately, some experienced complications, some died, but millions were protected from becoming infected. The same is true of the COVID vaccines. The problem is fear-mongering from the media and social media sites. Conspiracy theories are out of control. The U.S. VAERS (vaccine adverse event reporting system) is partly to blame. Reporting to the VAERS is voluntary and accepts any submitted report regardless of the cause or clinical significance. The collected information is analyzed, and much of it does not contain enough information to consider vaccines as the cause of the adverse events. 

In May of 2021, Fox news reporter Tucker Carlson reported that 3300+ people died after receiving the COVID vaccine during a four month period. He had obtained his information from VAERS. What he failed to report is that any adverse reaction from redness at the injection site up to and including death can be reported. The numbers were investigated and no causality between the vaccines and deaths could be determined in most case. Many died of natural causes unrelated to the vaccines. In other words, many of those who died would have died regardless of whether or not they received the COVID vaccine. What was not reported, along with the supposed numbers of COVID vaccine deaths, was that 259 million vaccines had been given in the U.S. during that same time period. I’m no math whiz, but even if all 3,330 people died from the COVID vaccine the likelihood of death is still less than a 2% chance. 

To be fair, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was found to be a cause of death due to a rare blood clotting disorder. The vaccine was paused for a period of time until the facts could be sorted out. 28 blood clot cases were identified and 3 died. Adminstration of the J&J vaccine was put on hold for a couple of weeks and then resumed when cautions were issued. The blood clots related to the J&J vaccine were identified mostly in women with a median age of 33. At the same time, nearly 7 million people had received the J&J vaccine. Again, the odds of not developing a blood clot after a J&J vaccine were in our favor. What you may not know is that the blood clots were also seen in some who had received either of the 2-shot vaccines and in people who had COVID. Our neighbor had COVID in early 2021 and also developed blood clots.

As a healthcare professional of 40 years, I am in favor of people making up their own minds about whether to receive one of the available COVID vaccines. With or without the vaccine, you may contract COVID. The difference is, COVID in those who have been vaccinated is usually milder and doesn’t always result in hospitalization. Notice, I said ‘usually’. No vaccine is 100% protective against any disease. 

Americans stake their lives on their right to choose. Get the facts and choose wisely, and not based on social media information that is likely misleading or downright false. You have the right to vaccinate or not – please don’t criticize those who choose differently from you. Civil war could be on the horizon if we continue polarization over a vaccine that saves lives…..

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