On Tuesday, April 13, I received my second Pfizer vaccine. Today, 2 weeks later, I am considered resistant and fully vaccinated. Two weeks ago, I was nervous about going into Jersey Shore University Hospital to get that second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I had read about side effects of the vaccine on social media. I was informed that I would have a severe headache, fever, and chills, and sever fatigue. I was also told, through social media, that I would be injected with tiny robots that would allow the government to track my every move and execute me via the 5G cell phone network. The latter, of course, I completely discounted.
So, what happened to me? Nothing. Sure, I had a sore arm for a few days, and about 4 hours after the vaccine was administered, I felt the need to take a nap. Beyond that I had no side effects from the Pfizer vaccine.
My motive for getting vaccinated revolved around family members. I would be devastated, were I to bring the virus home to infect them. I also did not want to infect any of you, my neighbors. Lastly, who wants to get sick in the first place?
The CDC reported Sunday that 95 million people (about 28.5% of the population) have been fully vaccinated. About 140 million people (42.2% of the population) have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
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According to a recent Reuters poll, 38% of the population of the United States says that they will not get the vaccine. To break this down further, 20% say the will NEVER get vaccinated. 18% say they will consider vaccination but not now. When asked why, the responses vary from the belief that the vaccines were rushed and there is not enough of a track record, to the belief that there are serious, life threatening side effects that the government is hiding from the populous, down to the tiny robots that I mentioned earlier.
The problem that this refusal or hesitancy creates for the United States is that according to a report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, current vaccination data suggests that around 70% of the US population would need to be immune to achieve, what is referred to as, herd immunity to COVID19. With nearly 40% of the population hesitant or outright refusing the vaccination, herd immunity will be incredibly difficult to achieve.
Let’s address some of the myths and misinformation that permeate social media. The following has been compiled by the University of Missouri:
“ Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because it was developed so quickly.
Fact: The authorized vaccines are proven safe and effective. Although they were developed in record time, they have gone through the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines, meeting all safety standards. No steps were skipped. Instead, we can thank the unprecedented worldwide collaboration and investment for the shorter timeframe on the development of the vaccines. The clinical trials and safety reviews actually took about the same amount of time as other vaccines.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will alter my DNA.
Fact: The first vaccines granted emergency use authorization contain messenger RNA (mRNA), which instructs cells to make the “spike protein” found on the new coronavirus. When the immune system recognizes this protein, it builds an immune response by creating antibodies — teaching the body how to protect against future infection. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The body gets rid of the mRNA soon after it’s finished using the instructions.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine includes a tracking device.
Fact: A video shared thousands of times on Facebook makes false claims about the products of syringe maker Apiject Systems of America, which has a contract with the government to provide medical-grade injection devices for vaccines. The company has an optional version of its product that contains a microchip within the syringe label that helps providers confirm a vaccine dose’s origin. The chip itself is not injected into the person getting the vaccine.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects such as allergic reactions.
Fact: Some participants in the vaccine clinical trials did report side effects similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including muscle pain, chills and headache. And although extremely rare, people can have severe allergic reactions to ingredients used in a vaccine. That’s why experts recommend people with a history of severe allergic reactions — such as anaphylaxis — to the ingredients of the vaccine should not get the vaccination.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women.
Fact: Misinformation on social media suggests the vaccine trains the body to attack syncytin-1, a protein in the placenta, which could lead to infertility in women. The truth is, there’s an amino acid sequence shared between the spike protein and a placental protein; however, experts say it’s too short to trigger an immune response and therefore doesn’t affect fertility.
Myth: I’ve already been diagnosed with COVID-19, so I don’t need to receive the vaccine.
Fact: If you have already had COVID-19, there’s evidence that you can still benefit from the vaccine. At this time, experts don’t know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
Myth: Once I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I no longer need to wear a mask.
Fact: Masking, handwashing and physical distancing remain necessary in public until a sufficient number of people are immune. Fully vaccinated people can meet with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks. Learn more about the fully vaccinated life.
Myth: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Fact: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it doesn’t contain the live virus.
Myth: Once I receive the vaccine, I will test positive for COVID-19.
Fact: Viral tests used to diagnose COVID-19 check samples from the respiratory system for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. Since there is no live virus in the vaccines, the vaccines will not affect your test result. It is possible to get infected with the virus before the vaccine has had time to fully protect your body.
Myth: I’m not at risk for severe complications of COVID-19 so I don’t need the vaccine.
Fact: Regardless of your risk, you can still contract the infection and spread it to others, so it’s important you get vaccinated. Once the vaccine is widely available, it’s recommended that as many eligible adults as possible get the vaccine. It’s not only to protect you but your family and community as well.
Myth: If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, I am at a greater risk to become sick from another illness.
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that getting the vaccine heightens your risk to become sick from another infection such as the flu.
Myth: Certain blood types have less severe COVID-19 infections, so getting a vaccine isn’t necessary.
Truth: Research has shown there is no reason to believe being a certain blood type will lead to increased severity of COVID-19. By choosing to get vaccinated, you are protecting not only yourself and your family but your community as well.”
Social media can be a great place to keep in touch with family and old friends. It can help to keep relationships close. But sadly, it is a digital soap box for individuals that wish to cause trouble. With the appropriate software (often free of charge), a Disrupter can create a website that appears to be a news outlet, video that seems to push the anti-vax agenda by taking clips out of context and create seemingly humorous memes that spread false information. Most of these “News” articles and memes are the creation of hostile foreign governments. Why would they do such a thing? To weaken us, pit us against one another. Don’t be fooled. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, go out and research the efficacy and safety of the COVID19 vaccines. This is a good place to start:
I have been a good boy for over a year, staying out of public places (with the exception of food shopping, which is a lot like a foraging scene from the TV show the Walking Dead), not gathering with friends and family and not going to restaurants or treating myself to take out food. Now that I am a “Vaxxer”, tonight I will have PIZZA that I did not have to make myself!