Monday, July 19, 2021

Arguments FOR Vaccination


If you are even remotely following the news, you have heard that Covid-19 cases are once again on the rise.  It appears that the latest genetic change/evolution of the virus, called the Delta Variant, is more highly contagious than previous strains.  That means that even though previous strains were easily passed from one person to another... the Delta Variant is even more virulent and therefore even more dangerous than the previous strains.

Of course, the people who are most susceptible to this latest scourge are... those individuals who are unvaccinated.  Some people do not have a choice.  Either their age or their health history precludes them from vaccination.  However, many others DO have a choice and many individuals are making the choice to NOT be vaccinated.

Now I am all for individual rights.  I understand that masks are not easy to adjust to wearing and I also understand that there is concern about vaccines.  The Covid-19 vaccines currently being administered were created in record time and some people were concerned about potential unseen safety side effects that might show up after administration.  I get that.  I also was not adamant at the start of vaccine distribution that everyone line up.  I felt it was the choice of the individual.  Now though, my opinion has changed.

Current statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that 48.3 percent of Americans are vaccinated... which is 160,408,538 people.  That's a good start, but it isn't nearly high enough.  The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been administered since late December of 2020.  Unfortunately, the state of Missouri (where I practice) is currently at 39.95% and Kansas (where I live) is at 42.81%.  That helps explain why Missouri is currently in the #1 spot for infections and Kansas is not too far behind.

I personally received both of my injections in January.

Part of my desire to be vaccinated was to prove to others it was safe.  If there was some type of horrible side affect that was going to consume me, I'm confident it would have shown up by now.  I truly wasn't horribly concerned about getting Covid-19.  I had access to N-95 masks, surface disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and nitrile gloves.  I had been practicing dentistry post reopening since May of 2020.  I figured that if I hadn't become infected by that time, I didn't need to worry.  However, I took the vaccine so that I could tell others who might have apprehensions that I had done just fine.  I took it for others, not myself.  We also now have over 160 million people who have received the vaccine and side effects numbers are very low.

I also wanted to be sure that I was as safe as possible for my patients, my team members, and those people in the general population that were at greater risk.

That greater risk is something that we need to consider.  It's now well known that some cases of Covid-19 are subclinical, meaning the host shows no symptoms.  It is also well known, that hosts can  be spreading the virus for several days before symptoms arise and those 2 facts are what make vaccines SO important.  You can be shedding viruses with NO symptoms and infecting others long before you know you are ill.

Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and there are others with health challenges that also cannot receive the injections.  At this point, getting vaccinated is not about personal liberties, it is about doing the right thing.  No one wants to be responsible for injuring another person, especially a child.  

The science is sound.  Vaccinations save lives.  If anyone doubts that responsibility, I would refer you to a recent opinion piece that I read.  After reading this heart wrenching story, I challenge you all to think about what this family went through.  Then I offer you another challenge.  Do the right thing.  Get vaccinated.  The risks are slight while the benefits to yourself and others are tangible.

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