This segment originally appeared in the Shopping Guide News of Fulton County
What are some of the myths or disinformation you have heard regarding the vaccination shots and booster shot?
This is a great question. It goes directly to one of the biggest challenges we face in a free society during a deadly pandemic. Disinformation and the ease at which it can be shared, has resulted in many people resisting to get the vaccine and practice safe practices such as social distancing and wearing face masks. This has also led to many preventable hospitalizations, debilitating illness, and deaths. Providing the news has always been a ‘for profit business.’ Mainstream television and radio news outlets, newspapers, magazines have always generated advertising revenue by providing news information. But today, the public has many additional sources of news and information thanks to the internet. The difference with social media is there are many that will say anything if it attracts attention. The popular social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tic Tok have huge followings. They designed the sites to keep the user entertained and engaged. They use algorithms (programming language) to keep the user on their platform as long as possible. The longer the user remains on the platform the more advertising revenue they can generate. Many celebrities and other creative users capitalize on the appeal of the platforms, and they become paid influencers. Some of these influencers get paid millions of dollars to keep providing content that keep users engaged. Social media platforms create programs to drive content towards each internet user based on user likes and engagement - regardless of accuracy and truth.
All this has created a perfect storm of disinformation. Platforms have recently taken steps to filter out disinformation, but many believe that makes the disinformation even more credible. A study this past spring, when vaccines were first rolling out, identified one dozen specific anti-vax influencers that were responsible for 65% of all the disinformation on social media. These 12 influencers are responsible for over 800,000 posts or shares. These posts were seen by millions. Many of the 12 were using the platform to market their own businesses and/or nutritional supplement lines. Their greed has resulted in a lot of mistrust and hesitancy. The consequence has been thousands of people killed by Covid, while influencers and social media platforms have made millions.
False claims of vaccines containing toxins, microchips and aborted fetus were common. And the more sensational the claim, the more it got shared and liked.
There are also a group of people that refuse to get vaccinated because they feel like they are being forced to do so. They strongly believe in their right to refuse and strongly oppose mandates. And I get it. We all are in the middle of this debate, and it certainly has polarized people into two groups. Unfortunately, it has been politicized into a binary choice about individual freedom. And in my opinion, that is where it all goes sideways. Of course, we all love our freedom and naturally get defensive when our freedoms are threatened. We fight wars over it.
Instead, the conversation simply needs to be about health choices. All the other information, believable or not should be ignored. The most important question is this... Do we take our chances and get Covid-19, or do we get the vaccine? This virus does not care who you voted for, your religious beliefs, what your coworkers or boss says, or what you read or viewed. This virus is so contagious no one will escape exposure.
As of November 2021, more than 7.8 billion doses of these vaccines have been given worldwide. These vaccines are proven to be extremely effective. While any vaccine has some risk and potential side effects, the health risks of these vaccines have been proven to be much less than the health risks of getting covid or spreading covid to the vulnerable.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals account for 98.1% of Indiana's 1.08 million total COVID-19 infections, 99.96% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.98% of COVID-19 deaths since the first coronavirus case was diagnosed in the Hoosier State on March 6, 2020.
Studies show people with a previous COVID-19 infection are 5 times more likely to get a second COVID-19 infection than a vaccinated person. The key with these vaccines is their ability to create immunity to the virus’s spike protein. - It is difficult to know if a naturally acquired immunity from previous COVID-19 infection targets spike protein. This unknown make variants more likely to cause a 2nd infection.
An article I read by Dhruv Khullar summed it up like this. “There are differences—morally, practically, emotionally—between being forced to feel afraid and choosing to be cautious”.
I strongly recommend everyone age 5 and older get fully vaccinated and, in most situations, get a booster dose when it is recommended.
To find your preferred vaccine in your county you can do any of the following:
For a vaccination at a Webb’s Family Pharmacy location, go to WebbRx.com to schedule your shot.
Harry R Webb, PD
Webb’s Family Pharmacy