While the world is struggling with one of the most devastating pandemics in history you would think the least of your worries would be what happens after the vaccine is found. But actually a more complicated problem has already risen that can alter the outcome.
by Kiersten Ngeow
An unmitigated disaster unparalleled in history, the global pandemic decimated the human population, killing over 760 thousand and sickened millions globally, according to the World Health Organization. Despite these unprecedented circumstances, hope emerges through the worldwide efforts to develop a vaccine. However, would enough people be willing to receive a vaccine in order to make a difference?
This may not be the case in the United States, where one out of three Americans would not be willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even if it were free.
The refusal of vaccines consists of several concerns: the potential risks, the fear that vaccines attribute to countless other medical conditions, and the doubt surrounding safety during the development of vaccines. In contrast, those willing to receive a vaccine believe that vaccines are essential to the health of themselves and others. This is immensely attributed to the vaccines’ ability to reduce the risk of contracting deadly diseases, which also allows for protection via herd immunity—when a large portion in a community is immune to a disease, making the spread of the disease unlikely to others—to those unable to receive vaccines due to medical reasons.
So, would you be willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? This trilemma aims to answer this question through three perspectives: those who would refuse the vaccine, those who would receive them, and the neutral outcome.
Why would someone refuse the COVID-19 vaccine?
For some, refusing the vaccine is their only choice due to preexisting medical issues such as having a weakened immune system or experiencing prior allergic reactions to a vaccine. Thus, the CDC advises certain people to opt-out of receiving specific vaccines as they can affect those individuals differently.
However, for others, refusing vaccines is a choice deeply rooted in other concerns. One of these concerns is the fear of the potential risks and conditions that can occur with vaccines. These risks, as stated by Vaccines.gov. include swelling, headaches, and mild fevers. Receiving a vaccine may also lead to serious side effects, making vaccines not a 100% safe solution for everyone. Unfortunately, when discussing the risks of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, dangerous misinformation causes fear among some individuals. Examples of this misinformation as CNN include “...media memes stating the vaccine will leave an invisible digital, trackable tattoo; that Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leader in the vaccine effort, is actually Satan; and that the vaccine will hideously disfigure your face.”
Another concern among those who chose not to be vaccinated is the doubt about the safety of vaccines. With the rapid development of the coronavirus vaccine, concerns about its effectiveness and safety arises . Despite the reassurance from the FDA that the development of the COVID-19 vaccine “will not cut corners'' doubts still remain. In an online Twitter discussion about a possible COVID-19 vaccine, one post states, “‘Warp speed’ says it all. Project has been rushed and corners are being [cut]. No point producing a vaccine that could be more dangerous than the d[is]ease....but tell that to trump. Desperate to find a vaccine for a d[is]ease he thinks doesn’t exist. Bizarre.”
Why would someone receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Being able to receive a safe vaccine could be the next step to decreasing the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The purpose of a vaccine is to stimulate a person’