The most recent novel coronavirus pandemic has brought a glaring discrepancy of views on the vaccination process. The danger and necessity of vaccination against this disease led to one of the most heated debates in recent times. There are different perceptions of this issue which are further complicated by both political and social messages that create a mixed message regarding vaccination. This essay aims to review the reasons for people not to rush to get vaccinated and why there is no vaccine that can be considered ready for being administered.
The importance of the vaccination is undeniable, yet there are numerous reasons why people should not be rushing to get the treatment that is not fully approved for usage. Currently, there is no known treatment for this disease, although the number of vaccines in testing is as high as 200 (Haynes et al. 1). Moreover, no country has accumulated a sufficient number of people who have antibodies against this virus to gain herd immunity (Karlsson et al. 1). The dangers of this disease are clear, and hundreds of drug companies race to create a treatment on an unprecedented scale, which will lead to an extensive database of results that would speed up the completion of trials (Haynes et al. 7). Currently, all COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA for emergency use only, meaning that they are not yet thoroughly tested (Harvard Health Publishing). A complete vaccine approval and licensing are key factors in people’s intentions to get vaccinated.
The current rush for the vaccine contradicts the safety protocols of the Food and Drug Administration. Even the most recent guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine readiness by FDA explicitly require that all trials must be complete and meet the success criteria (Haynes et al. 7). Moreover, there must be a period of two months after the last phase of the trial, during which the patients who were treated with the vaccine are evaluated on the occurrence and severity of side effects (Haynes et al. 7). Only after these results, the vaccine will be deemed to be ready for mass vaccination.
While the current state of vaccine safety is insufficient for people to push for urgent vaccinations, it is also crucial to keep in mind that it will not always be so. As vaccines will eventually become safe, the trust in the companies who develop and approve them must be kept in control. There are two essential steps that must be taken to ensure that the final vaccine will be accepted in society: transparency of the official outlets and the elimination of false claims. However, in the meantime, the overly aggressive promotion of an unfinished product can lead to an opposite effect and deter people from taking it due to the decreased trust in the source. To discuss how this situation is created, it is essential to review the arguments of people who are unwilling to get vaccinated, as well as those who are promoting the rapid deployment of this vaccine.
People experience vaccine anxiety on a massive scale, which leads to numerous conflicts across the country. News outlets provide a constant stream of articles regarding COVID-19, creating an information noise that prevents people from discerning which information is accurate and which is false (DeRoo et al. 2). DeRoo et al. argue that “public health campaigns must engage with traditional and social media platforms now to monitor, counter, and prevent the spread of fringe notions about future COVID-19 vaccine before dangerous myths take root” (2). Dodd et al. reveal that even “among people who were willing to vaccinate, some hesitancy was noted regarding the safety of the vaccine” (162). This overflow of information creates an adverse perception of the situation with vaccinations among the population.
The focus on COVID-19 vaccinations is partially related to the recent political events in the United States. Palm et al. state that “politicians are featured as often or more often than scientists” in the news regarding COVID-19 vaccines (8). Both Republicans and Democrats can be adversely affected by overexposure to the media that contains unverified information regarding vaccine development (Palm et al. 8). The involvement of politicians in this process has a negative impact on the research itself, as its approval can be rushed, leading to a further mistrust towards the system (Palm et al. 9). The vaccine must not be used in political campaigns, otherwise, people will be suspicious regarding its credibility.
It is also vital to analyze the primary reason for people to take a pro-vaccination stance. Currently, people who are willing to take experimental vaccines consider COVID-19 as a highly threatening disease (Karlsson et al. 2). Thus, the motivation for the majority of people who intend to get vaccinated is to protect their health and their family (Dodd et al. 162). However, emotions, instead of facts regarding the necessity of the usage of an unfinished vaccine, are the primary driver for the current push for immediate mandatory vaccinations (Karlsson et al. 2). To properly begin vaccination programs, a full set of trials must be conducted, and a waiting period must pass.
Transparency of safety tests is a vital factor, yet it is not enough by itself. Social media can create a strongly negative perception of vaccines among the population to the point where it will become difficult for the government to achieve a sufficient percentage of vaccinated people (DeRoo et al. 1). Thus, the logs of production and tests of a vaccine must be accessible for any inquiring person, and their highlight by popular news outlets is essential. Studies have shown that a significant portion of people who observe a particular tendency in vaccine test results is likely to change their intention to receive it (Karlsson et al. 9). Vaccines that are approved for emergency use have not entirely passed all necessary tests (Harvard Health Publishing). In the nearest future, companies will create a fully FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, but until then, people need to remain patient to ensure that they receive the product of sufficient quality.
In conclusion, people must take all factors into consideration and avoid acting on their emotions alone when deciding to take a vaccine against COVID-19. In their current state, vaccines do not show the level of safety that would make them approved for mass usage. Since there will be a need to promote vaccination later, it is beneficial to keep the news about the progress in vaccine development free of any misinformation. An official outlet that does not aggressively urges people to get vaccinated and shows what progress is made can play a beneficial role. It is evident that the spread of disease can be efficiently stopped by mass vaccination, however, the complete safety of vaccines must be proven before they can be administered to people on a large scale.
DeRoo, Sarah S., et al. “Planning for a COVID-19 Vaccination Program.” JAMA, vol. 323, no. 24, 2020, p. 2458.
Dodd, Rachael H., et al. “Concerns and motivations about COVID-19 vaccination.” The Lancet Infectious Diseases, vol. 21, no. 2, 2021, pp. 161-163.
Harvard Health Publishing. “COVID-19 Vaccines.” Harvard Health, 2021, Web.
Haynes, Barton F., et al. “Prospects for a safe COVID-19 vaccine.” Science Translational Medicine, vol. 12, no. 568, 2020, Web.
Karlsson, Linda C., et al. “Fearing the disease or the vaccine: The case of COVID-19.” Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 172, 2021.
Palm, Risa, et al. “The Effect of Frames on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy.” MedRxiv, 2021, Web.