The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, recently issued the following statement that several people have viewed as highly controversial: "Covid-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up. They are nearly 100% effective against severe disease and death -- meaning nearly every death due to Covid-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to Covid-19 is at this point entirely preventable."
According to publicly available data, over 50,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Texas. And with several dozen people currently dying from the disease each day, many people consider the director of the CDC's statement to be completely out of touch with reality. After all, calling the deaths of loved ones "preventable" is emotionally distressing.
Approximately 49% of Texans have received their first dose. And at the time of writing, 41% have received their second. But despite millions of people lining up to get vaccinated, over half of the population still haven't received their first dose. Why is this? Vaccine hesitancy is a real thing. And if we try to guilt-trip Texans into getting the Covid-19 vaccine, we risk discouraging and alienating them. Quoting an article published by Bloomberg:
"Mixed messages about whether vaccines will get us to herd immunity may have some wondering why they should bother getting vaccinated. The same goes for telling vaccinated people to keep masking, distancing, and avoiding restaurants. There are good reasons to get a vaccine, but the amount of uncertainty experts are expressing may be unwarranted at this point — and discouraging some from seeking out the shot."
Ultimately, we need to listen to the concerns of Texans and understand why they don't want to get vaccinated. Maybe then, it'll be easier to address any worries with facts, data, and reassurance from experts in their respective fields.
Take my friend Nathan as an example. He lives in a small town just outside of Houston. He was extremely concerned about mRNA vaccine technology due to contradicting news stories. And to be fair, the mRNA delivery mechanism is fairly novel, so it's understandable why some people in Texas are concerned. But after Nathan spoke to his local doctor about everything that was on his mind, he felt at ease and decided to get the vaccine the following week.
Sure, the CDC director may be correct. The vaccines are proven to be reasonably safe and efficacious. However, we can't guilt-trip or criticize people for being vaccine-hesitant. As a society, we need to listen to people's concerns and compassionately address them. Perhaps then, we can get out of this pandemic much faster.
Are you encouraging other people to get the vaccine? Let me know in the comments section below.
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