There has been so much information given to us regarding everything to do with COVID-19. We still do not know its source for certain. Scientists made it clear even though COVID is another SARS virus; it’s quite different from previous versions. COVID-19 is a sure killer. But what can effectively kill IT?
Pfizer came forward with the first vaccine with which to tackle COVID-19. Moderna was close behind. Now, Johnson and Johnson has joined the fray. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is in play in Europe, though yet not approved for use in the U.S. numerous other pharmaceutical companies have additional vaccines in development.
But still, people get sick, and, still, people die.
Why are there so many versions of a vaccine to use against the virus? Here’s the answer several “experts give us:”
We need COVID-19 vaccines to work for a diverse range of people — including healthcare workers, older people, and those with underlying health conditions. At this stage, we don’t have the complete efficacy data for the vaccines emerging from phase III clinical trials, including how effective they are for people of all ages, from different ethnic backgrounds, with different immune systems, and in different countries. We also don’t know how long immunity might last for, or whether the vaccines stop transmission of the disease. And it might be that one vaccine is not as effective for everyone. We often need multiple vaccines for a disease, to be able to protect different groups.
In this answer lies the issue with which tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions more of those in foreign countries are struggling. “…we don’t have the complete efficacy data for the vaccines emerging from phase III clinical trials…”
How can so many be so certain of the necessity to rush and get a COVID-19 vaccination?
Disconcerted Medical Professionals Seem Fearful
What do frontline health care workers and first responders know about COVID-19 vaccines that politicians and their public health advisers don’t?
According to a January analysis by Gallup, 51 percent of health care workers and first responders polled were unconvinced of the merits of getting vaccinated, even if the vaccine “was free, available, FDA approved and 90% effective.”
Gallup found these results especially concerning since those at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 — the professionals required to meet America’s health, safety, and critical economic needs whom the National Academies of Engineering, Science and Medicine define as “Tier 1A workers” — were the likeliest to refuse vaccination (34%).
The frontline workers proved to be as defiant as Gallup’s survey of their intentions anticipated. In California, over half of Tehama County’s hospital workers at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, an estimated 50% of frontline workers in Riverside County, and 20% to 40% in L.A. County refused the vaccine, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
According to an estimate in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, only 30% of health care workers have been inoculated in Georgia. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine reported that 60% of nursing-home workers refused the vaccine. In Texas, the Texas Tribune reported in February that home-health and assisted-living agencies might not be able to service their clients because so many caregivers are refusing to be vaccinated. A CDC survey of skilled-nursing facilities published in early February found that fewer than 40% of staff took at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Outside the United States, frontline workers are likewise skeptical. On March 2, Reuters reported that at most half of the nursing staff in Switzerland’s medical sector, only 30% of the staff at Germany’s BeneVit Group care-home operator, and about half of the health workers in French care homes were willing to be vaccinated.
PBS on the same day reported that since “India started administering the second vaccine dose two weeks ago, half of the frontline workers and nearly 40% of health care workers have not shown up.” In Canada, CTV provided a report that many long-term-care workers in Montreal are “flat-out refusing” to be inoculated.
For health care workers around the world, their dilemma is who to believe. Their government employers and the pharmaceutical companies, who insist the vaccines’ benefits far outweigh the risks? Or their own eyes?
Many frontline workers see first-hand those who fall sick or die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. In the absence of independent data, judge for themselves whether the vaccine is implicated. They noted 23 nursing-home deaths in Norway and hundreds of hospitalizations in Israel following vaccination.
Frontline workers also suffer from vaccinations themselves. As Reuters reported in February in an article entitled “AstraZeneca Vaccine Faces Resistance in Europe After Health Workers Suffer Side-Effects,” the adverse effects hitting health care workers have unexpectedly left large numbers unable to work, forcing hospitals to scramble to maintain services.
- In France, the safety agency advised hospitals to stagger team members’ inoculation to avoid disabling team functions.
- In Sweden, two of the country’s 21 health care regions paused vaccinating their staff after 25 percent of the vaccinated suffered fever or flu-like symptoms.
- In Austria, inoculations with a batch of vaccines were suspended after one vaccinated nurse died and another required hospitalization.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that to avoid getting vaccinated, half of the health professionals scheduled in the German state of Saarland failed to show up for their appointment.
In response to the many concerns raised by frontline workers, the vaccine manufacturers, care-home operators, and the public-health authorities in all these countries offer weak reassurances, such as AstraZeneca’s statement that “the reactions reported are as we would expect” and the German Health Minister’s claim that “I would be vaccinated with it immediately.”
They also are launching dozens of public education campaigns. Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care, an industry advocacy group, launched a “Be Wise, Immunize” campaign to educate its workforce.
And all urge media and social media to be more vigilant in policing negative vaccination news. In offering pointers on how to debunk critics, the Columbia Journalism Review on March 5, told media companies that “The first rule of reporting on disinformation is don’t talk about the disinformation” and suggested they “consider the practice of ‘pre-bunking’ — that is, actively debunking or anticipating public questions and concerns rather than only reacting once false narratives have been popularized.”
Although studies show that such assurances and public-education campaigns (also known as “propaganda”) can reduce vaccine hesitation, Gallup finds their effect is marginal: “The limited COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rates among all occupation groups show little movement since November 2020.”
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis agrees and concludes that barriers to “staff member vaccination need to be overcome with continued development and implementation of focused communication and outreach strategies.”
The CDC doesn’t explain why continued focused communication and outreach would overcome worker hesitancy when workers don’t fully trust the data or those who deliver the data. To overcome that trust barrier and win over the frontline workers — people who have every incentive to protect themselves — the media would need to lift the censorship, the industry would need to open its studies to independent scrutiny, and all would need to engage in reasoned debate rather than “trust-us” assurances.
President Biden and his COVID-19 officials’ task force who are running this battle need to be honest with the American people. There are far too many untruths and bits of disinformation that seem to drop in the news almost daily that debunk the “facts” given to us over and over. “Just trust us” doesn’t work today, if it ever did. REAL professionals earn respect and trust by providing facts in every area of a project. That’s the only way to justify Americans’ acceptance of what is stated.
There’s a BIG problem in this: there are too many unanswered questions that result in fear. I’m not sure if your Daddy taught you what mine taught me about fear: no one can be assured that decisions made in a state of fear are the right ones. And these are ALL life and death decisions!
There are massive numbers of healthcare professionals who refuse to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. That happening should prompt our leaders to share with us ALL of the ins and outs, good and bad, in each of these vaccines. And someone should explain why so many who receive vaccinations are suffering horrible post-vaccination reactions. VAERS (of the CDC) tells us that as of Friday, March 12, almost 1400 Americans have died within a day or two of receiving a shot. That has never happened in U.S. history!
President Biden, give us the truth. Our lives are at stake, as are those of our children.
It’s always better (and much smarter) to say “I don’t know” when someone doesn’t really know. In this case, NOBODY seems to know, based on Science, the potential pitfalls of any of these vaccines.
What happened to the transparency and unity promised to Americans during the Biden campaign? Most Americans understand there are dangerous unknowns about these vaccines. Shouldn’t President Biden clarify to the American people that no one in his administration knows all that needs to be known in fighting this pandemic?
Again and again, this president has promised to LEAD in the fight to rid the nation of COVID-19. He has again and again taken credit for parts of the COVID-19 process for things accomplished on his predecessor’s watch.
So far, this president has failed miserably.
And people die.