That miracle arrived as promised. Yet in my state of Missouri, which Trump won by 18.5 percentage points, a quarter of adults say they won’t get a coronavirus vaccine. Because that statistic baffles me, I sought to discover why so so many are refusing the vaccine. I spoke with several of my conservative friends and neighbors who are saying “no”.
Most of them don’t accept the fear-mongering prophets’ warnings of the vaccine’s gene-changing and tracing abilities, a completely unfounded conspiracy theory.
Still, they shared other concerns. The first is that the vaccines were designed and tested too hastily. Though the name “Operation Warp Speed” may suggest a rushed product, the three vaccines currently permitted for use in the U.S. are anything but. Scientific experimentation on coronaviruses began in 1962 when they were discovered in humans, so the current research already had a solid foundation. More than 43,000 volunteers participated in Pfizer’s tests, 30,000 in Moderna’s, and 44,000 in Johnson & Johnson’s, all more than meeting CDC requirements.
My friends also worried that coronavirus vaccines aren’t safe, a common argument against newly approved medications we all take. The sizable, aforementioned clinical trials found no long-term adverse effects, and there haven’t been any serious health issues conclusively linked to vaccination even though more than 70 million Americans have received their shots.
But one thing is certain—COVID-19 is a deadly disease which has claimed the lives of over half a million Americans. Vaccines eliminate the threat. Among South Carolina’s 300,000 fully vaccinated citizens, only one light case of COVID has been reported. Furthermore, the Clalit trial of 1.2 million Israelis—half of them immunized—reveals that the vaccine lessens symptomatic COVID by at least 94%.
Last year COVID killed two of my acquaintances and sent many others to the hospital with horrifying experiences. Given my age of 79, I felt vulnerable. Those I interviewed, however, don’t believe they will die of COVID, though all have friends or family who did. Some trust “clean” foods along with supplements like zinc, vitamins C and D, plus prayer, to protect them from joining the almost 550,000 COVID deceased.
One friend who has highly researched COVID medications believes the Hydroxychloroquine regimen in her medicine cabinet is a safe, “tried and true cure.” But rigorous trials have shown that Hydroxychloroquine is ineffective against COVID-19, and the Mayo Clinic advises against home use because of possible heart damage.
Another reason stated for rejecting the vaccine is distrust of the elites with microphones and publications who misreported statistics, my friends believe, for financial and political reasons. Big Pharma, they say, is in on the profit game. One friend explained, “The politicization of this virus has made every aspect of it suspect, and the dishonesty of the media makes the vaccine a big gamble I am not willing to take.”
But don’t we all take “Big Pharma” medications? Don’t we buy products from companies making large profits? And why would a pandemic suddenly make pharmaceutical companies partner with a vast left-wing conspiracy to risk Americans’ health for huge profit? And would Moderna scientists intentionally create an unsafe commodity, then give it to their board and employees? They would not. The scientists and pharmaceutical executives believe in their products, and have the hard data to back it up.
The history of vaccines in America shows their significance in overcoming rampant diseases. Though many Americans are hanging back now, there is good news: some 69% of Americans plan to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, including 61% of Black Americans. However, that’s not enough to reach our goal, possibly 75%, for population immunity.
We are in a world war against a silent, invisible killer, but too many are not enlisting in the fight. One friend reluctantly decided to receive the vaccination, mainly to please his wife and daughter. But he also said, ”I wouldn’t want to get Covid then pass it on and cause someone else’s death.” He exemplifies the American spirit. We both rolled up sleeves to help make America safe again.
Marilyn Quigley is a contributing author to Real Clear Science.