Have you ever wondered why the covid-vaccine has become so politicized? Well, that is because many people are skeptical of the vaccine and believe it was rushed, since it was out before being approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). If our own doctors and nurses refuse to get the vaccine, why should we?
In 2020, covid was readily spreading, which prompted scientists to speed up the process of formulating vaccines. There are three types of covid-vaccines: Pfizer, Modern, and Johnson & Johnson. All three vaccines are supposed to build immunity in people, but after the issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, many individuals are hesitant. In Baltimore, the FDA had to discard nearly 60 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA ruled that the vaccines had to be disposed of because they were “not suitable for use”. According to nbcnews.com, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was connected to rare cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a neurological disorder. After hearing this, people were strongly opposed to getting the vaccine, as they believed it would put them more at risk.
When the vaccines were open to the public, many individuals were rushing to get it. People believed that the vaccines were the safest way to protect themselves and others. Although all three vaccines have been available, they were not immediately approved by the FDA. Since they were not approved right away, many people felt unsafe and wanted to wait until it got approved. According to forbes.com, 75% of adults that refuse vaccinations are concerned about covid and the vaccine. In fact, 90% of the group are more worried with the vaccine not working as opposed to getting sick.
On December 11, 2020, the FDA provided an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for the use of the Pfizer vaccine. The next vaccine to be approved by the EUA was Moderna, which was on December 18, 2020. After the recall of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, scientists were still working to fix the issue. They were able to fix the problem and get it approved by the EUA on February 27, 2021. It took a long time for all three vaccines to become EUA approved, but besides safety concerns, some people still refuse to get it for other reasons, such as spread of misinformation, celebrity influences, lack of trust in government, limitation of self-freedom, minorities believing they will be targeted, and side-effects.
Many healthcare workers are against the vaccine, as they would rather lose their jobs than get the shot. According to npr.org, Melody Butler, executive director of the nonprofit Nurses Who Vaccinate, spoke with nurses on why they refuse to get vaccinated. First, the nurses believed that the research was performed too quickly. They did not like how the vaccines were released to the public before being FDA approved. Secondly, the nurses have antibodies from either having the corona virus before or working the front lines during the pandemic. Moreover, they are worried that if they got the vaccine, it would affect their ability to have children.
Celebrities have a huge influence on people and their viewpoints on certain topics. There are many celebrities who are against the covid-vaccine, which is why some individuals are opposed to it as well. If celebrities believe the vaccine is harmful and unsafe, their fans will agree with their perspective. For instance, Nicki Minaji, a famous female rapper, is against the covid vaccine. On September 13, 2021, she shared on twitter about what happened to her cousin’s friend, who took the vaccine. Nicki Minaji stated, “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cause his friend got it and became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it and make sure you’re comfortable with your decision, not bullied.” This tweet went viral and sent fans into a frenzy, receiving over 150,000 likes and almost 26,000 retweets. Because of this tweet from Nicki Minaji, many individuals were refusing to get the vaccine. After hearing what her cousin’s friend endured, some fans did not believe it was the safest option to get the vaccine.
After seeing how poorly the government handled covid, various individuals are reluctant to get the vaccine. The government has been known for lying to their citizens for their own personal benefit, which is why many people have a lack of trust in the institution. In other words, when the government states that the covid vaccine is safe, individuals are thinking the opposite. People do not believe the government will provide them with accurate information, instead they feed them lies and false information. The government has a tendency of telling individuals what they want to hear (covid vaccine is extremely safe), as opposed to what they need to hear (covid vaccine has side-effects). According to aafp.org, “Many members of the public, including HCWs, have been exposed to conspiracy theories (especially on social media) such as the claims that novel coronavirus was intentionally created by the government or that health organizations have exaggerated COVID-19’s lethality for pharmaceutical and political gain. Such misinformation calls into question authorities’ integrity and undermines efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake.” Furthermore, the spread of false information about the vaccine reflects on the government, resulting in individuals not wanting to get it.
By getting the vaccine, people believe their freedom will be restricted. As schools, jobs, and other facilities are making it mandatory for people to get the vaccine, it causes individuals to become reluctant in getting it. In other words, when people tell someone they must get the vaccine, some individuals decide not to get it because they were told.
As a result of the significant medical racism of the past, in which minority communities were used as trial subjects for experiments, combined with the very prevalent racial tensions of today, many minorities do not feel comfortable in getting the vaccine. African Americans have been wronged by hospitals before and realize it can happen again, if they get the vaccine because they do not trust nurses and doctors. In the past, racial health experiments have been subjected to black and brown communities. According to healthline.com, “A recent report from UnidosUS, the NAACP, and COVID Collaborative revealed that just 14 percent of Black Americans and 34 percent of Latinx Americans say they trust in the safety of a new COVID-19 vaccine.” These numbers are extremely low based on how African Americans have been mistreated in hospitals and other places.
After receiving the vaccine, people are told that they will be fine, but fail to inform others about possible side-effects. According to cdc.gov, the side-effects include: muscle aches, chills, fever, nausea, fatigue, headache, soreness in arm, redness, and swelling. According to forbes.com, 36% of adults on the vaccine are concerned about the side-effects. Moreover, 31% of those individuals worried that the vaccines were quickly developed, going through clinical trials fastly. Most importantly, people are opposed to receiving the vaccine because they can still get covid. Therefore, they find it pointless.
Although covid is still spreading, individuals would rather take their own safety precautions than receive the vaccine. However, the reasoning behind not wanting to get the vaccine is well-supported. Therefore, before judging someone for not wanting to receive a covid shot, hear their reasoning out because it might change your perspective as well.