Vaccine privilege: but only in America


Claire Scott

Many other countries would give everything to be able to give its citizens the benefits we have. Despite this, there is still a community of people who refuse to get vaccinated, regardless of the benefits.

Azul Lin, Commentary Editor

People are refusing to get vaccinated even in the face of endangering the lives of others

For everyone living in the United States, the COVID-19 vaccine is completely free, and is safe and effective. Many other countries would give everything to be able to give its citizens the benefits we have. Despite this, there is still a community of people who refuse to get vaccinated, regardless of the benefits.

    Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. It went through all the stages of research in clinical trials required to prove their safety. According to CDC, 369 million vaccines were given in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 31, 2021. The vaccines meet the Food and Drug Administration’s standards and have been approved. While there has been a minuscule number  of  bad reactions, they are very rare and overall, people should not have long term negative effects from the vaccine. The long-term, positive effect from the vaccine is much more important than not getting one.

   In terms of effectiveness among the vaccines in use in the United States, the Pfizer company has announced the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be 91.3% effective against COVID-19, the Moderna company has claimed the Moderna vaccine to be about 90% effective against COVID-19, and Johnson & Johnson has been reported to be 72% effective against COVID-19 in the U.S.

     There are a couple studies for each vaccine that show this effectiveness dropping, so the Biden Administration has begun encouraging getting booster shots, but regardless the effectiveness of the protection vaccines, never falling below 70% even with the studies showing drops, provide against COVID-19 are relatively high. This effectiveness is especially notable when compared to the flu shot, which is a shot people get often, and  is only about 40-60% effective.

   I think everyone should get a vaccine, and it is incredibly selfish not to, especially because it costs us nothing. Getting the vaccine not only protects yourself from getting infected, it protects others from getting infected from you. All of us who live in the United States have the privilege of being able to easily obtain a free vaccine at our convenience. It is not only unfair to your own body and to those around you who could get sick because of you, but disrespectful to those in other countries that cannot access a vaccine as easily despite desperately wanting one.

   COVID-19 is a real threat. At the time this article was written, CDC had reported 702,360 deaths recorded in the United States. It is simply not reasonable to not take the virus seriously considering the heavy death toll. More people have died in the United States from COVID-19 than people in the United States died from World War II, a war regarded as a war to end all wars.

    What makes the fact that some people in America will not get vaccinated even more infuriating is that there are people in many countries that need vaccinations to live that do not have access.

   According to  the Our World in Data website, only 1.1% of people in low income countries have gotten the first round of vaccination. This is absolutely unacceptable. The reason for this is not only the lack of money to buy up all of the vaccines needed for these countries’ populations, but the overreaction of higher income countries. Some examples include the US, the UK, and Canada, all of which bought two, four, and five times the amount of vaccinations necessary in comparison to their populations respectively.

    All of the vaccines won’t even be used, but it is the responsibility of the American population to utilize their resources to their greatest extent. Creating a safer country at home will allow countries not struggling to vaccinate their populations to help countries that do truly need help.

    Many Southeast Asian countries do not have the healthcare, supplies, equipment, or oxygen to accommodate their populations. This does not even have to do with careless government inaction or a lack of policies to contain the virus; in fact, near the beginning of the global outbreak, Vietnam was praised for its maintenance of the virus with its strict early screening of passengers at the airport and quarantine and monitoring program. However, because of the gluttonous spending of more wealthy countries, Vietnam has a shortage of vaccines, and only 4% of people in the country overall have been fully vaccinated, according to NPR.

    The New York times reported that in the last week, there have been about 22,204 COVID cases a day in India. Many critics blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the spread. Modi prematurely declared the pandemic defeated in India, allowing large gatherings and approving a Hindu festival that has millions of attendees. This carelessness has plunged India into a pandemic crisis. Only about 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated as of August 31.

    We should all be grateful for the privilege we have living in America, and the only way we can show that right now is getting fully vaccinated.  When the United States is safe enough, the government will be more willing to donate  vaccines to countries in need. For the safety of yourself, your family, your friends, and your fellow Americans, please get vaccinated.