To The Courier-Post:

Americans suffering from COVID-19 fatigue got a “shot in the arm” when they heard the seminal news that safe vaccines with 90% to 95% efficacy would be available soon.

Vaccines are the benign approach to community (the herd) immunity. To interrupt the chain of transmission, 75 to 80% of Americans need to be vaccinated. Yet, only 58% of Americans polled say they would get vaccinated.

Vaccines, though ranked as the most important discovery in history for protecting humans against many potentially disabling or deadly illnesses, trigger misgivings for some. This skepticism is not new. The Cow-Pock cartoon (1802) depicts individuals with bovine features from smallpox vaccinations.

Addressing vaccine hesitancy requires a compelling, transparent message on how vaccinations foster public health; but factual, logical arguments are not enough to overcome all resistance. In 2021, we must resolve, coast-to-coast, to promote vaccination as a prosocial, altruistic behavior that protects everyone.

The impact of vaccinations on reducing transmission will not be immediate; it will slowly build over time. In the meantime, we must be patient and continue deterrents to transmission such as physical distancing and mask wearing. As we know, the price tag for not taking these safety measures is astronomical.

John C. Schafer


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