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COVID-19: Not Vaccinated Does Not Equate to 'Anti-vaxxer'. There's Many Reasons People May Be Cautious About Getting Vaccinated

The Pandemic before vaccines (and probably after too). Photo by Thirdman from Pexels.
The Pandemic before vaccines (and probably
after too). Photo by Thirdman from Pexels.

Remember when the pandemic first started? How we didn't have a vaccine for over a year, yet we were still able 'flatten the curve' through hygienic practices like handwashing, mask wearing, social distancing, and, in the really critical periods, lockdowns?

Australia, and several other countries are in the strong position we are today thanks to those practices and not vaccines. Yet, there appears to be a growing perception that unvaccinated people are threatening everyone's health because of their higher risk of catching COVID-19.

However, while you might think getting vaccinated is a no brainer, as you 'state the obvious' statistic that more deaths occur from COVID-19 in people who have not been vaccinated. I think, I would certainly hope so because you'd really be wondering, what is the point of getting vaccinated, if there was a high number of deaths from COVID-19 among people who have been vaccinated. In addition there is still plenty of unknowns around the vaccines that is cause for hesitation.

A statistic that is less thrown around is the numbers of people who have been vaccinated that have still gotten COVID-19. You don't hear about them much because they're more of an anomaly than proof of the vaccine not being effective. That is, with any vaccine, there will always be some people for who it just doesn't work, for varying reasons.

More concerning a number that is thrown around is the people who have died from receiving the vaccine. Specifically, it seems, one particular type of vaccine (AstraZeneca triggering a rare blood clotting condition). While claims of large numbers of deaths, in some countries, as a direct result of receiving the vaccine have been debunked, there are still deaths, and often it's unclear if it was a direct result of the vaccine or other underlying issues. 

For example, the elderly in most countries have been prioritized, with some of these people dying after receiving their jabs. It's not conclusive if the vaccine contributed to their deaths, or if they would have died anyway from old age or other underlying medical issues.

Needless to say people dying from the vaccine have been enough of a concern for our government to argue over who should be allowed to receive which vaccine since, if anyone is likely to die from it, it had better not be anyone under 50 years of age.

The vaccines themselves are still very much under review as to how effective they are, and what kind of longevity they have in protecting people from COVID-19. How long after your two jabs can you go before you need another two jabs?

Then there's the potential side effects of receiving the vaccine, which range from none to you may be feeling quite unwell for a day or two with some unpleasant but manageable symptoms.

Slightly more concerning is the new development of, apparently, now being okay to have your two jabs be one of each vaccine? That doesn't seem safe to me at all for drugs that are still being field tested?

Granted this thinking is based on actual research studies, but it's still new research that isn't necessarily conclusive. Why do we even need two jabs of one type of vaccine if one of each will do? Why isn't one jab enough if the second jab can be something else? 

Supposedly two different jabs boost your immune system more than two jabs of the same vaccine. (To me this logic is heading, borderline, into the ill advised patient thinking of taking more of a drug will cure you faster than sticking to the recommended doses).

The biggest, anxiety inducing issue for me, is the push to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible, not so much for health reasons (though of course that is a main one, right?) but more so we can 'get back to normal'.

People want to go out, be in large gatherings, go to events, do business, travel, and all the things we used to do without having to worry about spreading a virus. I get that, and I want those things too.

However I don't think we need to start demonizing people for being cautious about getting vaccinated. The majority of people who have yet to be vaccinated are not 'anti-vaxxers'. Unless they are but, statistically, it is unlikely. 

At the time of writing this the Australian population was roughly 35% vaccinated, a figure that includes people who have only received one dose of vaccine. In terms of actual people, that's just over ten million.

Also at the time of writing this, South Australia is in the tail end of a seven day lockdown. Our state has  been particularly diligent with making sure the pandemic doesn't get out of control using the tried and effective method of social distancing, masks, handwashing, and lockdowns. 

Until this recent lockdown, due to the COVID Delta strain, we were 'getting back to normal'.

As of Monday, July 26, we had just 26 active cases in the state despite, in April of this year, our vaccine roll out was called out as being one of the slowest by our Federal government - yet our lockdowns are few, short, and our cases of COVID have been manageable. Vaccine's are great but it's not yet the vaccine that's making a big impact.

One could argue that it's unvaccinated people that are spreading the Delta strain - though I suspect that's closer to a 'fact' than an 'argument'. We were down to zero cases in the community in South Australia, with the delta virus being brought in from overseas, and subsequently spread via close contact. Which suggests the most effective short term method for wiping out COVID is being more cautious with people coming into the country and taking decisive action when outbreaks occur.

My overall, meandering point here is, before getting vaccinated, there's a lot to think about. I am not an anti-vaxxer at all but I'm not rushing out to be vaccinated. I don't consider myself to be high risk for catching COVID-19 because I barely go out, even before the pandemic started (with exception to travel holidays which, obviously, we haven't done since the beginning of 2020). When I do go out I practice social distancing and I sign in everywhere I'm supposed to. I am being cautious.

Face Masks Matter Thank you for Wearing
Face Masks Matter,
Thank You for Wearing by TET.
Available from Redbubble.

In everyday life I'm mostly at home. I work from home. I walk the dog once a day. The pandemic was not a drastic change for me. My partner is considered an essential worker, so our household hasn't had any issues economically either.  We might go out for dinner every so often or see a movie, both types of venues have adapted to social distancing regulations relatively well.

I will likely get vaccinated at some point, since I am eligible, but I've been concerned about the whole 'vaccine blood clotting' issue, since blood clotting has been a health issue in our family in the past. 

I also believe, there are people more in urgent need of a vaccine than me (pretty much anyone who doesn't spend the majority of their time at home all year, not speaking to anyone other than their immediate family).

While I don't particularly agree with the idea of 'vaccine passports' that seem to have entered the national discussion. I think that is very likely to become a thing for international (and probably interstate) travel. We can't ask people coming into the country to get tested and/or vaccinated if we're not prepared to do so ourselves.

That said I think proof of a negative COVID test, at both ends of the journey if necessary, is a better option than proof of having been vaccinated (since vaccination, at this point, doesn't necessarily stop you from carrying the virus).

I do think it is unnecessary to make it mandatory to be vaccinated just to enter a store or place of business, restaurant, or cinema, given social distancing practices not just appear to work but have been the backbone of our fight for more than a year.

Long term, vaccinations are likely the key to eradicating COVID-19. I'm choosing to wait before getting vaccinated. Until it feels a little less Russian Roulette and a little more science fact on the things concerning me. 

In the meantime, don't assume I, and people like me, must be anti-vaxxers (and who says anti-vaxxers aren't responsibly social distancing, wearing masks etc.). We're not crazy, we're cautious, and we're not stopping the vaccinated from going to packed out stadiums like pre-pandemic days... because chances are, the majority of us, who aren't vaccinated, don't want to take the risk of being somewhere we can't social distance...

...unless, of course, you aren't confident in the vaccine keeping you safe... because you're sure it will, right? Or maybe, even if you've had the vaccine, going to a packed stadium, may not be the best idea?


Note: This article is based purely on opinion, my own observations, and my interpretation of various media on the subject of the pandemic and COVID vaccines. It is intended to be a representation of what the average person, who is not in any way a medical professional or scientist, may be weighing up in their head in relation to vaccines and getting vaccinated. I fully support the idea of vaccines, I'm just not there yet on COVID vaccines, and I know I'm not alone in that thought process thanks to conflicting media reports, even across so called reputable sources.

On a further note: I fully support the roll out of brain melting 5G towers during lockdowns if it'll fix my internet speed, regardless of whether the pandemic is a fake conspiracy to allow Bill Gates to microchip everybody who gets vaccinated, so he can mind control the world population into being part of the new world order. I'm not sure what this order is going to be but lord knows we could do with some that's new. I look forward to being ruled by sentient space lizards... though that seems a bit same ol' same ol' to me... or maybe I've been watching too much Loki on Disney+?


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