• Kevin Lamport

Vaccination hesitancy - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less


I got Pfizered the other day. Big deal, right? I mean, everybody is doing it. I joined a club of millions and I’m happy about it…I think?


The story of the Covid Pandemic is still being written. Some of the early chapters were ridiculous (Toilet Paper Shortages), others were horrifying (Cruise Passengers Trapped on Plague Ship), and some have become repetitious and need to be edited (Quarantines and Lockdowns). The chapter being written today is crucial because the entire world has hung its collective hat on its outcome: Vaccination.


The United States, a country Canadians (justifiably) laughed at for their abysmal pandemic response, has experienced incredible success vaccinating its population…until recently over three million doses a day. This surprising success means at least 46% of the American population have received one dose and 32% are fully vaccinated. That daily number has declined due, in part, to the availability of vaccines in certain rural areas and also because of laziness, self-sufficiency, concern about possible side effects…what amounts to vaccination hesitancy. In response, the US is finding new and creative ways to keep the positive progress happening, including incentivizing the process—a free beer if you get vaccinated in May? Genius! Vaccination stations have even been set up in the New York subway. If a person chose to get vaccinated at the Dover NASCAR race last Sunday, he received free tickets to the Daytona 500 race. Free Covid vaccinations were given to spectators at an Atlanta Braves ball game. As an incentive, those fans were given free tickets to a future game.


Canada’s vaccine rollout, on the other hand, has been a well-documented Liberal debacle, hardly surprising when the moron living in 24 Sussex Drive started the entire vaccination chapter by making a deal with a country known for honouring a deal only when it serves their own interests, which due to the two Michaels and the Meng Wanzhou situation, won’t be aligned with Canadian interests anytime soon. Consequently, Canada is months behind the US and many other countries in the world, when it comes to getting people vaccinated. Although that fact is having enormous negative effect on our economy and our health, Trudeau says he has no regrets about Canada’s vaccine roll out. The man-child would say something as moronic as that. He famously refuses to accept responsibility or admit mistakes for any of his many fuck-ups.


Anyway…


We’re told that if we want to return to a semblance of normal, whatever that it is, we must contain the virus with strategies such as quarantines, lockdowns, travel restrictions, etcetera. Containment buys us time to beat the virus via wide spread vaccination, which will eventually lead to herd immunity. Herd immunity is a daunting goal and quite possibly unachievable. The reason lies in the math,

Why you should get vaccinated as soon as possible.


or to put it another way (if you didn’t hit the above link), vaccination hesitancy by a large number of the population. Given the mixed messages coming from Trudeau, Theresa Tam and their ilk, is it surprising there’s a problem getting people to roll up their sleeves?


All vaccines are safe and effective.


There is very little excuse to continue to use AstraZeneca in Canada.


Extending the time between vaccine doses makes sense, in order to get more shots into more arms.


Extending the time between vaccine doses doesn’t follow the science. The safety and efficacy of the vaccine has not been evaluated.


Two doses of different products could boost a person's immune response beyond what can be achieved by giving the same shot twice.


The CDC has warned against the mixing of vaccines unless there are “exceptional situations.”


I’m confused.


The only people who aren’t confused, I imagine, are the anti-vaccer whack-a-doodles. This is a group of people who obtain their news from FB and grocery store check-out lineups, who believe vaccines give infants autism and toddlers mental disorders and who have those beliefs reinforced by idiot celebrities and US senators. They’ll never accept the fact that a Covid jab might be the only route to the other side of the crisis. And, really, why should they make that acceptance? If they aren’t smart enough to believe an unquestionable truth—vaccinations prevent disease—why would they accept the ambiguities associated with a Covid vaccine…it won’t prevent a person from becoming infected, it’s precise control over transmissibility is unknown, it might give a person blood clots, it could screw up mammogram results… Finding a reason not to vaccinate, no matter how sketchy, isn’t difficult if someone goes looking.


There’s a second contingent of individuals who aren’t anti-vaccers or conspiracy theorists but who are also refusing Covid vaccinations, although in their cases, for more rational reasons. These people are skeptical about the safety of the vaccines based on how quickly they were created and pushed to market by big pharma companies with an eye on the bottom line. They are nervous about the unknown, long term health effects of a vaccine. They question how extreme the Covid crisis actually is and wonder if it’s a political construct, a social experiment or most logically, a crisis that has become overblown by sensationalistic media, reactive politicians and the woefully uninformed. They don’t believe there’s a huge need for a vaccine when, as a percentage, so few people become seriously ill should they become afflicted with the virus.


I understand their point of view. The media’s panicked reporting has unquestionably turned a bad situation into a much bigger, much worse problem. As for the vaccinations, I’d counter with this: the development of Covid vaccinations did not start at ground zero, although there have been instances of drugs that have gone to market and subsequently proven harmful, they are the exception rather than the rule, and finally, it is big pharma’s right to make money off their products. How much money is an entirely different conversation.


In eschewing their vaccinations, I hope these people, as well as the anti-vaccers, don’t become ill. If they do, I hope it doesn’t become serious. Based on the statistics, it probably won’t.


As for myself, I want to get back to enjoying the mundane, the eloborate and everything in between. I’d like to visit Chris and Laura at my favourite coffee shop, without all the stickers on the floor telling me where I should stand and pointing the direction in which I should walk.


It turns out a big part of my leisure time involved traveling, everything from overnights to longer excursions. I didn’t realize I’d miss it until I wasn’t able to do it. We all have our reasons for wanting to close the book on the Covid story so...


...despite my utter contempt for the man-child and his mixed messages that blur Covid fact from fiction,


despite having questions regarding whether or not (and to what extent), a vaccination can prevent transmission of the virus, rather than just making me less sick,


despite doubting herd immunity will ever occur and believing Covid is here to stay,


despite all this hesitancy…


…I’ll get Pfizered a second time as soon as possible and join the approximately 4% of Canadians who’ve been fully vaccinated. Four fucking percent. In doing so, I’ll help Canada climb into the ranks of the 60 countries with the highest per capita vaccination rates in the world. What an achievement. The man-child has no regrets about the roll-out? He might be happy with 60th place. I’m not.


My second jab won’t happen within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame. On the current pace and schedule, I won’t receive it until the middle of September. If that weren’t bad enough, when the time eventually comes, I’m supposed to (potentially) accept a different brand. Well, that’s not happening. I won’t accept mix and match options unless it’s Moderna. I realize this choice is the definition of vaccination hesitancy on my part, but I’d prefer something definitive, instead of 50% of the articles I read contradicting the other 50%.


Americans are undoubtedly asking, “Who’s laughing now?” The CDC has said if a person is fully vaccinated, there’s no need for masks (except on planes, trains or busses), there’s no need to social distance and crowd size is no longer a limiting factor. After our disastrous roll-out, and considering vaccine hesitancy, none of the restrictions Canadians are living with today are going to change in the near future. “One dose summer?” That’s more Trudeau smoke and mirrors, and Tam essentially admitted as much. Don’t plan on having a typical Canadian summer. Don’t plan on travelling over Christmas vacation. This year is lost to us, just like 2020 was.


As much as every story needs conflict and possibly a twist or two, to keep the reader guessing (Canada's Vaccination chapter fits the bill), every story also needs a satisfying ending, so let me say this: everything about getting my first shot, from the online registration to the jab itself, was a well coordinated, problem-free experience. At the local level, there are a great number of people working extremely hard in clinics and community centres, all in an effort to push us past life as we're experiencing it today, into a much better future. I thank them all.


Kevin


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