If you are young, relatively healthy and with a good immune system, you might not be overly concerned about COVID-19. Odds are that if you catch this illness you will be completely fine. Sure, there are exceptions. But fear-mongering and worst-case-scenario anecdotes are probably more annoying than convincing. I personally can’t stand when busybodies pester me about safety. When I first moved to New York, panicked relatives used to warn me to never ever ride the subway alone at night. This was untenable advice because, well, I lived alone. If I didn’t risk s0lo subway rides, I could never benefit from New York City at night. Needless to say, I ignored their advice. And there were some uncomfortable situations. But I don’t regret my decisions one bit. So I understand the mentality of a young person who doesn’t want to be lectured about COVID safety either. You’re living your life, and this doesn’t feel like it applies to you. Nevertheless, I’m going to attempt to convince you to get the vaccine. Mass vaccination is the only way to put this mess behind us for the long term. And that’s in everyone’s best interest, including yours.
The Vaccine is Low-Risk
If you’re not worried about COVID, you really don’t need to worry about the vaccine. Despite what some claim, it’s not experimental. They did not skip animal trials or human trials. Because of the urgent timeline, both of these trials took place during the same period. There were three phases of human trials which included over 40,000 participants. For comparison, the clinical trials for Viagra (another Pfizer product) had about 3,000 participants.
It’s true that the FDA approved this vaccine under an emergency authorization. This does not mean, however, that the vaccine was untested. It basically means that they started producing the vaccines for distribution while the trial phases were still going on. Then, the distribution of the vaccine basically accomplished the same task as the final longitudinal phase of the study. Thankfully, that step is just about complete as well. The vaccines could be fully approved as early as a couple of weeks from now. If you’re a person with a decent tolerance for risk – which you probably are if you’re not afraid of COVID – there’s nothing scary about this vaccine.
The Vaccine Protects Vulnerable People
So, having established that vaccination is a low-risk proposition, we need to consider the reward. The COVID vaccine probably won’t save your life, but it very well could save someone else’s. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are when it comes to personal health. And the cruel irony is that some of the most vulnerable people are also unable to receive the vaccine or benefit from it. Immunocompromised people can die from COVID. They’re also unlikely to have a robust immune response to the vaccine. Short of asking these people to separate themselves from society forever – a cruel and unnecessary prospect – we can help insure that those around them are not carrying the virus. By taking the vaccine, we help protect the most vulnerable around us.
Getting vaccinated also helps protect young children, who are not yet eligible for shots of their own. Because Delta is more transmissible, pediatric hospitals are reporting an increase in cases of children with COVID. Kids have suffered so much during the past year. The loss of education and socialization is going to have a lasting impact on their development. That means it will have a lasting impact on our future. Vaccinating yourself will help children can get back to school, friends, and fun safely. You had your childhood. They need theirs.
The Vaccine Can Prevent Worse Variants Evolving
We all want our lives back. I want to go to weddings, parties, and travel. I want theater back. Some of these things are returning, but it’s all on shaky ground, and it’s going to be that way until COVID is under control. The biggest threat to our progress is still the emergence of another variant. Delta sucks, for sure, but the vaccine holds up well against it. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that will be the case for the next variant. The more variants emerge, the greater chance we have of being forced back to square one. This is, personally my biggest fear, and this is where I’m personally imploring you to get your shot.
The thing is, viruses can’t mutate if they don’t spread. If you get infected with COVID, even if it’s a very mild infection, you will have millions of of little virus copies inside of you. Each one of those copies has the potential to form a mutation. So while what you caught wasn’t so bad, the thing you spread to someone else could be much worse. I personally dread the prospect of another lockdown, another two or more years of this. I also dread the prospect of more unnecessary death. But even if we get to a place where less people are dying, this constant muddy middle of remote school, mask mandates, and restrictions in what we can and can’t do is exhausting. The specter of COVID hanging in the background drains the joy out of otherwise decent things.
Getting the vaccine isn’t just about saving lives, it’s also about saving what makes life worth living. All things considered, that’s a pretty high reward.