Vaccine Hesitancy Makes Sense
Plenty of people who get the jab are a bit worried about it at first
Vaccines against Covid-19 are rolling out across the world, and it’s a beautiful sight. If you had told most scientists this time last year that we would be seeing effective, safe vaccines preventing Covid-19 infection in every corner of the globe within 12 months, we would probably not have believed you. The monumental amount of work required to get us to this place cannot be overstated — it is a truly spectacular achievement.
But with vaccinations comes inevitable anxiety. Vaccines are, as a rule, a bit scary because they are medical interventions that we give to often perfectly healthy people not to treat their disease but to prevent it. Not only do many of us feel the basic worry that comes with all medicine — it’s never fun to have a needle in your arm — but also the added discomfort that this is something unknown and somewhat undesired.
Now, this is not to say that the vaccines aren’t safe. As I’ve written about before, the Covid-19 immunizations have gone through rigorous research processes, and are even now being scrutinized very carefully in post-licensure monitoring systems. There have been very rare but serious side effects identified for some vaccines — which is actually a wonderful sign of our systems working exactly as they should.
Moreover, Covid-19 itself is a really nasty disease. Even the highest risk vaccine is many times safer than catching the disease itself. As is well understood by now, Covid-19 kills quite a few of the people it infects.
And yet, some people are still worried about getting their Covid-19 shots. So let’s talk about hesitancy, denial, and why no one should be shamed for being worried before getting a jab.
Hesitancy vs. denial
At the outset, we should probably define our terms because there is a world of difference between people who are vaccine hesitant and those who engage in concerted denial.