This past week, I was on a Zoom call with the Southern Chester County Opportunity Network (SCCON). They are a collaborative initiative addressing the major issues of Southern Chester County. This past year, they have focused on the impact of the pandemic on our communities.They have been resourcing distance learning for the kids, along with assuring the vulnerable communities have food and shelter.
This meeting had a major focus on something I hadn’t thought about. We are reaching the tipping point,going from not enough COVID-19 vaccines to not enough arms. We’ve vaccinated half the adult population, and everyone over 16 is eligible for the shot today.
We need 80-90% of our population vaccinated before we have herd immunity and are safe from the virus,and we are losing momentum. We may fail.
With the pause in the J&J vaccine, people are starting to come up with excuses. Even members of the Zoom call expressed doubts as they had read how information about the dangers of vaccines were being taken down by Facebook and the powers that be. People say they will wait to see if the vaccines are safe. This left me frustrated.
Well over 200 million vaccines have been given out with few side effects. The delay in providing the J&J vaccine will kill a lot more people than the 1 in 7 million who might die from blood clots. Yet, now that they know about this possible side effect, they can provide a warning and help. Many or most of the people on the call had had at least one shot. What don’t we know?
There is something called “confirmation bias”, which means as human beings we tend to believe what wewant to believe and think we know. We discard information that contradicts our beliefs. That is not all bad. You get a lot of information that is false and you need to be able to discriminate the good stuff from the misrepresentations.
But it also means, if you think vaccines are bad, the internet is the best place to confirm your fears. It is best to use peer reviewed information that address facts that are reproducible.
I’m not completely unbiased in this area. My mother was raised a Christian Scientist. They were probably the original anti-vaxxers. They believe your health is more mental than physical, and I think there is some truth to that. I was told stories of how in WW II our cousins had to go off to war and because they had never been vaccinated, they had to get a lifetime of vaccinations in one day. You couldn’t choose to not participate. They had no side effects, and they knew that was because they were believers of mind over matter.
My mother and her sister had a congenital kidney disease. My aunt decided to treat it with “Science and Health” from the church and Mom did what her doctors told her to do. Her husband was a DuPont Engineer and he pressured her to humor her doctors.My aunt lived six months and my Mom lived 18 years on hemodialysis.
I believe the greatest contribution you can make to our community is to help ensure we are all vaccinated. It is unlikely that many anti-vaxxers will read this article but we must do what we can to ensure all are vaccinated and have availability of vaccine.
The numbers are overwhelming. Three million people have died worldwide from COVID-19. We have had 32 million cases in the US with a little less than 2 million hospitalized and 30% of those died. We are well on our way to three quarters of a million deaths in the US by the end of the pandemic.
We have had 764 deaths in Chester County. This last week the US had almost 500,000 new cases. That is 9,000 deaths that are in the pipeline each week. It isn’t over but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel if we get vaccinated.
There are few side effects to the vaccine compared to getting the virus. You could have a sore arm, a low-grade fever, and a feeling of lethargy. But there are no long-haul symptoms of fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, headache, and loss of taste or smell. The alternative of not getting the vaccine is the frightening chance of hospitalization and death.
It should be much easier to get the shots now. Sign up with Chester County Health Department Vaccine Program if you live or work in Chester County. Or try La Comunidad Hispana (LCH), or your Primary Care Physician, let alone your local pharmacy.
Don’t do it for yourself, do it for Kennett. Get the older folks vaccinated. 20 percent of the people over 65 haven’t had any shots and now they have to compete with everyone else for a shot. Our community can’t become immune if you don’t receive the vaccination and that goes for all of us.
We have to do it ourselves but we can’t do it alone. I hope to report that by the end of this summer 85% of Kennett will have immunity. With your help, we will rise to this critical challenge.