As coronavirus vaccines are distributed across the United States, some questions and misleading information have emerged. Here is information to combat five common concerns.
Only the vulnerable need to get the vaccine. Many people, unfortunately including elected officials, have said publicly that they will not get vaccinated. For example, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) announced last week that he would refuse the vaccine, saying that he is healthy and that the vaccine is only for those at risk — which he defined as health-care workers and the elderly.
There’s a lot of misinformation to unpack here. As has been well reported, younger individuals and those across many occupations are among the more than 320,000 Americans who have succumbed to covid-19. Even setting aside those facts, Buck’s statement reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how vaccines work. Vaccines protect more than the individual who is inoculated; the goal is to have enough of the population vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity,” which is also, accurately, called “community immunity.” The more people who are immune means fewer people the virus can infect — lowering the infection rate and the risk for us all.
Another reason that everyone eligible should get the vaccine is to protect those who cannot get it. With studies on children and the virus just getting started, it’s likely that young kids and babies won’t be able to receive the vaccine until fall 2021. Immunosuppressed people may need to rely on the immunity of others to help them stay healthy. In this sense, not getting a vaccine is like not wearing a mask: Your decision affects not just you but everyone around you, too.
There’s no point in getting the vaccine if we still have to wear masks. Vaccinated people should keep wearing masks and follow social distancing guidelines. In fact, we will all need to wear masks for some time. Although the vaccine is more than 94 percent effective at reducing symptomatic illness, it isn’t yet known whether it reduces the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus and being an asymptomatic carrier — a person who can unknowingly infect others.
As vaccination brings us all closer to herd immunity, there will be a point when enough of the population is protected that we can do away with masks. That could happen by the end of 2021. In the meantime, vaccination is a crucial tool. It doesn’t replace other tools but is a powerful measure that can help save lives and help the economy recover.Original Source