A Cure for a Crisis: The Coronavirus Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is necessary for us to ever regain any semblance of normal.

Sivan Yoskowitz, Guest Writer

A lion rages through a city, tearing apart anything it can sink its teeth into. Blood floods the streets, drowning those caught in its wake as the lion gulps down whatever it can find, its bottomless pit of a stomach hungry for more, never satisfied. The police issue an order, telling people to stay inside until the lion can be dealt with. Everyone gets behind shut doors. No one is brave enough to venture out. They tell themselves it’s okay, that the lion will eventually get tired or hungry and leave. No such luck. Over a year later, the city is still at stage one. It takes that long for people to finally develop an added measure to get rid of the lion.

Guess what? This is an allegory. The lion is COVID-19, a pandemic-proportion-sized virus that has taken the world by storm, seizing just under 2.5 million lives. Just as it’s hard for the citizens of the lion-overrun city to imagine life without death prowling just outside their door, with every passing day, it becomes increasingly difficult for those living in a socially-distanced world to think life could ever be “normal” again. But just like the lion, COVID isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to stand up to this microscopic villain and cleanse it from our world.

Our strategy in dealing with COVID-19, thus far, has been to quarantine until the virus stops spreading and slowly dies away. However, this has been less than effective, as people have found it increasingly difficult to leave their social lives behind in search of safety for themselves and those they love. Now that we have working vaccines, people can stop spreading the virus and get vaccinated before they cause any more permanent harm. “Wearing masks and social distancing will help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough,” the CDC said. “Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.”

People are dying as they succumb to COVID, and the more people that don’t get the coronavirus vaccine, the more the virus will spread. People have a responsibility to get vaccinated, as it not only affects them but also everyone around them to whom they might spread the virus. This is particularly true for those with an “increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” as the CDC said.

To those who are scared of the vaccine because it’s new and they don’t think it’s safe, the vaccine has been tested in various trials to ensure the safety and effectiveness of those who receive it. According to the CDC, under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), the vaccine had to be tested to see if the known and potential benefits outweighed the risks. And the CDC has discovered that “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.” It’s important to trust the process. The scientists and doctors approving the vaccine only have our best interests at heart. After all, they don’t want this pandemic to continue any more than we do. Millions of Americans have already received vaccines under, what the CDC called, “the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.” Not everything is some big conspiracy. We have the opportunity to fix the problem at hand and we might as well take it.

The vaccine has not, yet, passed the trials necessary for approving distribution to children. However, kids rarely suffer when they get the virus, as their immune systems are very strong. The main thing worrying people about kids getting infected is that they might pass it along to older people with weaker immune systems. If everyone around kids gets vaccinated, though, it won’t matter too much if a kid gets infected, as they’ll probably just get a slight cough before getting well again. The best part is that kids won’t have to worry about grandparents or other older relatives being harmed because they got a little too close to a friend. It would remove a lot of stress.

There is a fear of actually catching COVID from the vaccine among some. But people get vaccinated every day and not just for COVID. When you get a flu shot or any other vaccine, it doesn’t make you catch that virus. It simply allows your body to form antibodies to fight any instances of that virus that come your way. The coronavirus vaccine is the same way, plus, the CDC said that it doesn’t contain the actual live virus that causes COVID, so there’s no chance of getting it from a vaccine.

The vaccine went through various trials before it was made available to the public. It took the medical community over a year, but scientists eventually found a vaccine that, when tested, worked safely and effectively. “COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials,” the CDC said. “The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support [the EUA].” The CDC has announced that the vaccine has proven effective. Maybe we should take advantage of that.

Many people are worried about encountering side effects upon getting vaccinated. However, the side effects reported to the CDC really aren’t that bad, consisting of a fever, headache, chills—signs that the immune system is responding—as well as pain, swelling, or itching where injected. The CDC also reported that there is a very slight chance of getting anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction—when vaccinated, though this is extremely rare. According to the CDC, after getting the vaccine, you must remain in observation for 15-30 minutes in case you have an allergic reaction. If needed, the vaccine site has treatment for just such a case. The medicines can effectively and immediately treat the reaction. So there’s really no need to worry about such a case, for if it occurs, it can be quickly remedied.

It’s unknown whether we’ll ever get back that same semblance of normal we had before this pandemic struck. However, we cannot spend the rest of our lives in fear of getting infected. That’s not living; that’s survival. And survival isn’t enough. We need to live. We need room enough to breathe easy knowing someone is within six feet with an uncovered face. We need room enough to stretch our arms beyond the confines of this prison we have built around our own home without fear of brushing up against another. We need to cut off the barbed wire we’ve grown around ourselves to protect against friends and family. We need the coronavirus vaccine to tame this hungry lion.