A Shot in the Dark: What Are People Thinking?
It is miraculous that we are talking about a Covid vaccine so early in this process. It took a businessman, Pres. Trump, to recognize and unleash the power of the private sector, unshackled by the burden of government interference. Project Warp Speed has been an amazing success.
Pandemics have happened before, but not on this scale in our lifetime. All this seems unprecedented, even though it is not. Our response to it with Warp Speed was unprecedented. The fact that there was no precedent causes people to wonder if it is real or if its product is safe. And, of course, there are political ramifications to the disease and to the vaccine that are unprecedented.
What people are thinking about “the shot”
People are questioning whether they should take the vaccine. Even veteran healthcare providers, such as nurses, are sometimes slow to line up for “the shot.” The Kaiser family foundation took a recent poll which suggests that 47% of Americans want to be vaccinated as soon as possible, up from 34% just three months ago. 31% of those polled said they were going to wait and see how it affected other people first. Another 20% are quite reluctant, including 7% in that number who said they would only be vaccinated if required to do so for continued employment. 13% said they would not get the vaccine at all (1).
Of course, the press will create or magnify any racial component of anything they can find. This is no exception. The poll reports:
Among white respondents, 53% are more likely to want the vaccine than Black respondents (35%) and Hispanic respondents (42%).
More Black people (43%) and Hispanic people (37%) are likely to say they will "wait and see" to get vaccinated than white respondents (26%).
White people (51%) are more likely than Black adults (38%) or Hispanic adults (37%) to have been vaccinated or know someone who has, and those with incomes of at least $90,000 are nearly twice as likely as those with incomes under $40,000 to say so (65% versus 33%).
I mentioned a political aspect of this above. The enthusiasm for the vaccine among Democrats is growing daily, whereas Republicans have not particularly changed their opinions since late last year (1). One party has a vested interest in stoking fear of Covid in order to justify a $2 trillion expenditure, almost all of which has nothing to do with Covid.
I think it is interesting to look at healthcare workers’ responses. We might assume that they are among the most informed about the vaccine, side effects, risk and benefits. About one third of them have already had at least one vaccination. Another 26% wanted as soon as possible, but 28% more are in the “wait and see” category. 5% of those say they will do it only if required for employment, and 9% said “no” under any circumstances (1).
Despite the desire for the vaccine, 68% expressed concern for long-term side effects, and about half expressed concern for safety and efficacy. These concerns are heightened along racial lines with significant concern among minorities that the vaccine will give them Covid (1).
Mixed opinions about the vaccine are fed by mixed information, inconsistent statements from supposed “trusted sources,” foreign political control of the World Health Organization, and even political influence within the Centers for Disease Control. It creates a bit of tension in deciding who to believe about Covid 19, treatment modalities, and the vaccine.
I am looking through available literature from refereed sources. I am striking any information more than three months old because our knowledge is evolving about the nature of Covid, treatment options, the vaccine, and even the source of the virus. I will break this into small vignettes for our blog to keep our patients as informed as possible.
In the meantime, take your vitamin D 3 (5000 units daily), vitamin C (1 g twice per day), and some zinc. Throw in some quercetin to help you absorb the zink. Exercise and get plenty of rest. Stay informed. Go back to work or back to school. Forget about the mask unless someone will not let you in without it. Resume your life. Take back what is yours.
(1) Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Want COVID Vaccine ASAP. Steven Reinberg, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News)