4 Reasons to Get the Vaccine

That don’t involve lollipops.

Hopefully, I’m preaching to the choir here and no one who is not immunocompromised or otherwise unable to receive a jab has any doubts about this, but there have been a few reports of vaccine refusal among certain populations. So, in case any of you or any of your friends or relatives are still on the fence about being made immune from a potentially fatal and highly contagious pathogen, here’s four reasons to go forth and get your jab.

1. Immunity to a Potentially Fatal Disease

Come with me if you want to live. Get it? It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger as a syringe full of vaccine. Shut up; I’m funny. (Terminator 3, Columbia Pictures, 2003)

This one’s pretty straightforward. And it’s what I consider the Arnold Schwarzenegger motive for getting vaccinated. Covid-19 is technically a really bad cold, but it’s such a bad cold that it’s killed 2.78 million people with 127k of those deaths occurring in the UK and 549k in the US.

Moreover, there’s not really much indication of who might have the worst reactions to it. Clearly, people over about fifty or sixty years of age fair much worse than those in younger age brackets as do those with certain conditions and health histories, but there have been strokes in people in their thirties, Olympic athletes have reported extreme symptoms, and there is a tendency in some populations towards “long Covid.”

With the immunization even if you are not entirely and immediately immune straight away — say you’ve received the vaccine which requires two doses — the evidence suggests that if you somehow manage to catch it after vaccination your symptoms will be far less pronounced and — most notably — no one who has received the vaccine and come down with Covid thereafter has died.

So, why not just get the jab and ensure that you — yes you — won’t die? I mean, maybe don’t engage in reckless behaviour after getting it because it’s not that kind of immunity, but it will keep you from dying from Covid.

2. Herd Immunity

… what? (Photo by Ryan Song on Unsplash)

The idea of herd immunity has been … manipulated. Sadly. There’s a sort of laboured metaphor of the common green that academics came up to explain what it’s become rather than what it actually is but academics are terrible at speaking to normal human beings. I blame the pocket protectors.

Herd Immunity is the idea that once immunity surpasses a certain point (dependent on how contagious the disease is) the vectors for disease are so severely reduced that the pathogen may not be entirely eradicated, but is more or less impossible to catch. Basically, in any population there will be a few people who cannot immediately or in some cases ever be vaccinated (these include immunocompromised patients, infants, and sometimes pregnant women). Those people will always be at risk. But if everyone else is vaccinated and the disease cannot survive indefinitely in the environment then it is virtually impossible for them to catch it.

For very contagious diseases like measles and Covid-19 herd immunity is only achieved at a vaccination rate of about a 90–95% for measles in the USA and 60–80% for Covid worldwide. I appreciate how depressing that is, but despite whooping cough not being something I as an adult would have a terrible time with, I got the vaccination anyway because it meant I could snuggle babies safely. In this case, the pathogen in question is more dangerous to elderly people but don’t you want to give your parents and grandparents a hug? And just imagine how you might feel if you inadvertently caused a child with a heart defect or a person being treated for cancer to suffer unnecessarily.

If you’re healthy enough to do so, why not get the vaccine just to make sure you’re not a vector for disease?

3. The Economy

Remember when we could be asocial in public? (Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash)

This one’s fairly obvious. Some industries have done just fine during the pandemic. Some have even thrived. But there are aspects of our life that must be conducted in person. Entertainment, travel, and hospitality all have taken a huge hit, but imagine also the plight of receptionists, custodians, store clerks and so on.

There are so many people in our world who are normally a relatively huge part of the economy as consumers and who, during the pandemic, had to cut back significantly for lack of a pay check. Trickle down economics has been disproved, but if people can’t afford to pay their rent or are not buying their morning coffee, or don’t take the subway to work every day on a mass scale, that is going to have repercussions for the economy as a whole.

I was actually surprised at how well Starbucks is doing, but they did take a few hits. And some smaller businesses have had to close entirely. Amazon’s doing great as are a lot of communication services, but even those require consumers to actually have the money to spend to consume their products. The economy will recover once we get to herd immunity as described above, but not really before.

So, if you want to enjoy a booming economy where everyone’s buying things and enjoying life then get vaccinated so we can get to that 90–95% immunity rate. Or at least that 60–80% immunity rate.

4. Social Aspects

This is not a non-sequitur, and it’s weird that you have imagined it was. (Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash)

We’ve sort of touched on this in all the previous points. As a person who’s not all that into talking and eye contact and being recognized for me this has been awesome. Everybody has to stay 6 feet back. It’s great. But I’m given to understand that I’m not exactly normal in this regard. And I do love looking after kids. I found out from my neighbour recently that her daughter is missing me and wanted to know why I hadn’t given her a hug lately. It absolutely broke my heart.

The sooner all of this is over the sooner we can babysit our neighbours’ children, pet the cats in the area, play with the dogs who are so excited to see us on our morning run, have dinner parties, hug our parents, and go to the opera. And yes, specifically the opera. Not the theatre; the opera. I kid. Sort of. Someone needs to stage Verdi’s Atilla again, because that thing is absolute madness in a bottle.

My point being if you ever want to see someone reach peak tenor again — which is, for those of you wondering, lying supine on the stage whilst singing a lamentation about the loyalty of one’s lover who you literally just told to go marry the evil baritone — then you need to get vaccinated.

And just so we’re clear, that opera also has a horse. So get vaccinated. How else are you going to see horses onstage?

Conclusion

The vaccine is still incredibly new so while I really want to urge you to get it I also want to urge you to be conscious of the CDC’s guidelines on the matter. Keep wearing the masks, keep social distancing, and take reasonable precautions when visiting people who are more vulnerable. If everyone does this we will all have lived through a pandemic. But we still need to get to that 60% immunization rate at the very least and then we need to make sure the disease is unable to linger about.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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