The Need to Be Vaccinated Against Covid
Frequent commenter Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Joel Eissenberg discusses history of vaccinations and the need to be vaccinated.
Why everyone needs to get vaccinated.
Infectious diseases beset all living things, even bacteria. In the past ten thousand years of human history, there have been epidemics and pandemics of plague, smallpox, yellow fever, cholera and other diseases, with millions of deaths. Herd immunity was achieved by natural infection at the cost of many deaths, and was only temporary: when the next generation appeared, it lacked immunity, setting the stage for the next epidemic.
When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they brought infectious disease to which they had herd immunity but the natives lacked (measles, smallpox). This devastated the indigenous people as much or more than war or starvation.
Infectious disease has been around for thousands of years. Our understanding of infectious disease epidemiology is much younger. Most vaccines are less than 100 years old.
Vaccines are a way of bypassing natural infection and risk of death or disability to achieve immunity, and ultimately herd immunity. Polio was a scourge in America in the first half of the 20th century, and few Americans didn’t know someone who had been infected. Joni Mitchell is a polio survivor, as is Mia Farrow. Now, thanks to vaccination, polio is virtually unheard of in the US and nobody has to risk infection to achieve immunity.
With the COVID-19 vaccines, as with other vaccines (measles, mumps, polio), walking around in public without being vaccinated (when you have the choice) is like driving without stopping at red lights and/or ignoring speed limits: you increase your risk of bodily harm and you increase the risk to others by your reckless and selfish behavior. If you fail to get vaccinated, you increase your risk of infection (bodily harm). You also increase the risk to others (transmission during infection, hosting a new and more dangerous variant) by your reckless and selfish behavior.
In a time of pandemic, you do not enjoy the “liberty” of risking the lives of others while practicing your liberty. You have the responsibility to be vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.
“On February 20, 1905, the Supreme Court in a 7-2 majority, ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts: the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts could fine residents who refused to receive smallpox injections.” On this day, the Supreme Court ruled on vaccines and public health
Absolutely! Get the jab.
Good to see you are still around.
Will somebody tell me why Britney Spears cannot just step over state lines to get away from her father? Even if she could not take what she possesses in California with her? Why do California state rulings count elsewhere? I know that state criminal court subpoenas cannot compel presence in court over state lines.
Why doesn’t she just take up residence in another country? Prove she is okay taking care of herself for a while there — then return to have her situation lifted?
Court order maybe? Not sure, she was not high on my list of “Want-To-Know.”
Brittany probably could do so. She is an adult who is being controlled by the court and her father.
We’ve Never Heard Britney Spears Like This, The Atlantic. I read some.
Tangent, but was reading about COVAX not having a lot of vaccines available. Why are low risk people getting vaccines in rich countries when high risk elsewhere are desperate is a common complaint. But another message is that the world is all in it together. If we are all in this together, does it make any difference who gets the next available dose? Is the only really unforgivable action holding large inventory?
Epidemiology and compassion says we’re all in this together. Capitalism says vaccines go to the highest bidder.
Joel, my question is if vaccines make their way efficiently into unvaccinated persons, does it matter if it is a wealthy person or a poor one somehow? Does it matter if it is a person at a perceived lower risk than many others waiting? The above article suggests not getting vaccinated as almost criminal, while the implications of other prominent comments – like from the director of WHO – would be that a 17 year-old in normal good health would be doing the world a favor not taking a vaccine now while it could go to higher risk folks around the world. That’s a real situation. Yes, the one shot at the clinic in Green Bay won’t get flown to Paraguay if the 17 year-old doesn’t show up, but collectively production will get reallocated based on these decisions.
” . . . if vaccines make their way efficiently into unvaccinated persons, does it matter if it is a wealthy person or a poor one somehow?”
There’s no evidence that wealth or poverty affects vaccine response. It matters only that everyone get vaccinated.
“Does it matter if it is a person at a perceived lower risk than many others waiting?”
Yes. The goal of vaccination is to prevent premature death and transmission. People at highest risk of death and/or transmitting to others should be vaccinated first if there’s any choice to be made.
“. . . but collectively production will get reallocated based on these decisions.”
Collectively, production could conceivably get reallocated based on these decisions. It is far from clear to me how often that will actually be the case or whether this is the primary limiting factor for world-wide vaccine allocation.