18 March 2021: Vaccinate!
Wild. It's been a year since the world shut down due to COVID; a year of social distancing, a year of wearing masks, a year of not travelling, a year of realizing just how broken our system is and has been for years. Call me a cynic, a liberal, a socialist, whatever—we're living in a society that values money over its people, and we deserve better.
That's not the focus of this post, though.
From my little soapbox in this corner of the internet, I'm begging you: get vaccinated, if you can.
In hopes that I can do my part to convince you, I've decided to address some questions below. Should this be necessary? No, but in an age of misinformation, it's better to be thorough.
What do vaccines really do?
Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick.
What is the vaccine?
There are two COVID-19 messenger-ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines currently authorized for emergent use in the United States: the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. Conventional vaccines rely on weakened and inactivated pathogens or a fragment of the pathogen to trigger an immune response. In contrast, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines use a novel approach by which mRNA is delivered into our cells to provide the genetic instructions for our own cells to “temporarily” make a “specific” viral protein that triggers an immune response.
For more information about this, I would recommend listening to this Sawbones episode: Operation Warp Speed
How safe is it?
Over 109 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through March 15, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
Who should get it?
People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Why is it necessary?
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has a great compilation of reasons for why vaccines, not just the COVID vaccine, are important. To learn more, read about it here.
Which vaccine is better?
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the best vaccine to get is whichever is available to you because, in the end, they all achieve the same result: giving your body the ability to create an immune response against the virus.
Finally, do vaccines cause autism?
NO. There is no scientific evidence supporting this claim, the study conducted in the 90's has been debunked due to falsified data, and the doctor who conducted the study lost his medical license. This shouldn't have to be said, but there is no link between vaccines and developmental disorders.
Keeping in mind that I am not a medical professional, I hope that this helped you understand why a vaccine is important because it will save lives.
I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine on March 10th under California's Phase 1B (which includes educators), partly because I wish to protect myself, but also because I recognize that herd immunity is vital and the sooner we reach it, the better.
Please, do your part to help take care of our society.