COVID-19 & Vaccine Hesitancy

The WHO defines “vaccine hesitancy” as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services.” (Source: WHO ) I think this is a strange way of formulating the issue, since there are always risks involved when you take a vaccine. This definition does not address the fact that taking a vaccine is always an evaluation of the potential risks versus the potential benefits.

In the Netherlands, a poll showed that one third of the healthcare workers will take a vaccine when it becomes available, one third of the healthcare workers will not take a vaccine, and one third is still unsure about what to do.  So a lot of “vaccine hesitancy” there, and these are highly trained individuals who know a lot about health and healthcare.

I have heard several politicians say that this “vaccine hesitancy” can be solved by giving people good information, but I do not believe that. Dutch healthcare workers are not unusual in this respect, please do your own research on how enthusiastic the healthcare workers in your country are about getting their shots. I believe that these are four good reasons to be “vaccine hesitant” at the moment:

It’s an Experimental Vaccine

This is an experimental vaccine. The technique used in these vaccines is completely new, and therefor any long-term effects cannot be accurately predicted.  How Do The Covid-19 mRNA Vaccines Work?

It is Produced with an Emergency Procedure

The vaccines that will be distributed to the whole world population have been developed about ten times as fast as usual, with emergency procedures which skip several steps of the standard production and testing procedures. This does not mean the vaccines are bad, but common sense dictates that it DOES mean that the risks are of using these vaccines are higher.

There is No Liability for Big Pharma

It does not inspire much trust that the same firms who produce and distribute the vaccines have made sure that they can not be held accountable for any negative side effects. You get your shot and if anything happens to you, you cannot sue the manufacturer. Big Pharma firms will NOT be held accountable for side effects of Covid vaccine  You hear a lot of reassuring words from the pharmaceutical companies about all the different COVID-19 vaccines, but if there are any negative side-effects, you cannot hold them accountable.

There is only a Low Risk for the Young and Healthy

The high-risk group for COVID-19 are the old, especially the older people who already have health problems. If you are young and healthy, your health risks with COVID-19 are not much bigger than with the seasonal flu. Often in situations like these only the vulnerable groups are vaccinated. If the first three good reasons for being reluctant where not present, many young and healthy people might have taken vaccines to protect the vulnerable groups, but in this scenario, I am not too sure this will happen.

So these are some good reasons to be cautious about what you do. I do not believe that simply giving information that is meant to be reassuring but doesn’t contain new facts will motivate people to overcome their “vaccine hesitancy.” That being said, I do not want to tell you what to do or what not to do. Please do your own research and make your own decisions.