Vaccine hesitancy

The danger behind COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a hot button topic for over a year and a half now. From mask mandates, to stay at home orders and the more recent vaccine requirements, there has been much debate on how to address the pandemic. 

Recently, Ferris announced that it is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all student athletes, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. This comes after the news that other schools, such as Grand Valley State University and the University of Michigan, are requiring vaccines for all students, faculty and staff. 

There has been a lot of fear and misinformation surrounding the vaccine, which has led many people to avoid getting it. It’s unfortunate because numerous countries across the globe desperately want the vaccine but don’t have access to it. Here in the United States, we have the opposite problem: we have more vaccines than people willing to get them. The New York Times reported in a survey of 10 states that an astounding 1 million vaccines have gone to waste since the beginning of vaccine rollout.  

Part of the reason people are so hesitant to get vaccinated is because they think the process has been rushed, or they are worried about what is in the vaccine. However, as USA Today reported, most people don’t realize that following the 2003 SARS outbreak the COVID-19 spike protein was identified as a potential vaccine target. Because of existing technologies, the vaccine was able to be developed at a quicker rate, but that doesn’t mean that corners were cut in its production or development.  

The side effects for the COVID-19 vaccine are standard compared to other vaccinations. It includes soreness at the injection site, fever for a day or two, body aches and other mild symptoms. Ferris pharmacy professor Michael Klepser explained his wife’s opinion of the vaccinations. She would rather take the more known side effects of the vaccine than the risk of contracting a potentially fatal virus, knowing that if she survived the long-term effects are still vastly unknown.  

Another thing people seem to have forgotten is that most K-12 students are required to provide an up-to-date vaccination record in order to attend classes. Many schools, from elementary to college, are now requiring that students provide the same thing with the COVID-19 vaccination.

It’s not new, it’s simply adding another vaccine to the list of required vaccines already in place. However, for some reason, many people are calling the COVID-19 vaccine requirements unjust, but they’ve never before complained about the mandatory vaccination record.  

A quick Google search reveals conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory as people try to condemn the vaccine; a popular theory is that the vaccine is some sort of government tracking chip. Most people nowadays have phones and social security numbers, so it’s safe to say the government could find people if they wanted to, they certainly have no need for inserting a tracking chip.  

It’s understandable why there is vaccine hesitancy, especially with all the misinformation floating around, and the many people trying to make this a political issue when it’s a medical and scientific issue. However, the only way out of the pandemic is by getting vaccinated. It’s about more than just ourselves. Not everyone can get vaccinated, so it only makes sense that people who are able should get the vaccine.