Vaccines are effective and safe: The research that led to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine is not new. NIH scientists have been working on the technology used in the vaccine for many years. One of the scientists, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, an African American viral immunologist, was a central figure in the mRNA research that paved the way for the vaccine.
You care about your family: This new delta variant is more infectious and dangerous than the previous virus. This variant is causing our children to be sick and hospitalized. Theoretically, a working parent could bring home the virus and infect their children, who in turn infect their classmates. This type of spread is not uncommon and is happening across the country. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported on Sept. 14 that COVID-19 infections have risen "exponentially" among children in the U.S. since July. The group reported 243,373 new cases among children over the past week. It is about a 240% increase since early July, when children accounted for 71,726 cases.
You care about your community: This pandemic has infiltrated every corner of our society. Your neighbors lost their jobs and in some cases their businesses. Recent news also confirms that people are now being evicted from their homes and in some cases are no longer protected from the CDC moratorium on evictions. Getting the vaccine helps to ensure that we can prevent another massive shut-down that caused these financial catastrophes.
Don’t want to end up in ICU: Though vaccinated individuals can still become infected by the COVID-19 virus, they are less likely to be hospitalized or die. In some areas, over 95% of the COVID admissions are in unvaccinated patients. Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, according to the latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Sept. 10. The CDC also found that vaccinated people were nearly five times less likely to get infected and 10 times less likely to get so sick they ended up in the hospital.
You care about the health care workers: Early in the pandemic, people started referring to health care workers as heroes. I personally believe that we did not enter this field to be heroes. We became health providers because we wanted to contribute to the overall well-being of each patient we encountered. For many of us, our practice is more than a job, it is a ministry. Therefore, it is hurtful when we see so many people disregard the recommendations provided that will keep us all safe. Each health care worker that shows up to work at your local clinic, pharmacy, nursing home, and hospital, puts their lives and the lives of their families at risk every day for you.
Separate science from politics: Science has been a part of our culture since the beginning of time. Every day each of us is surrounded by scientific inventions that we do not question. When we purchase food, we believe it is safe and will not cause us harm. That’s science. When we get into our cars, we believe that the car will work as it should and keep us safe. That’s science. You believe that the medicine that we take for our headaches, our high blood pressure, and our diabetes will work as it should and not cause us harm. That’s science. Lastly, the vaccines we received as a child worked and kept us from getting those illnesses that we didn't even know existed. That’s science. Science evolves. Technologies change and we see that with the COVID-19 vaccines. Trust the science, not the vitriol of politics.
Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D., FAAFP is an associate professor, SLUCare Family Medicine and interim assistant dean of diversity equity and inclusion.