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Opinion OPINION: COVID-19 vaccines are not optional

OPINION: COVID-19 vaccines are not optional

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It has almost been a year since COVID-19 appeared in the United States, but it is as lethal as ever. But whereas we were virtually defenseless before, several companies have since invented vaccines to quickly dampen the malignant effects of COVID. 

These vaccines, instead of uniting the nation, have surprisingly divided us. There is a lot of vehement mistrust about the vaccines, which has created a fear of vaccines among a lot of people. This anti-vaccine movement should be deemed unethical, however, as they are basing their incorrect judgments based on unqualified assumptions. 

Inoculating ourselves with the COVID-19 vaccine will not only help achieve herd immunity, but will also prevent the virus from replicating. As there are also very low chances of reinfection, we as a nation can slow down the spread of COVID-19 significantly. This is especially good news for those who are most at risk, as they are less in danger of catching the virus and experiencing significant complications, including an increased risk of death. 

However, we must still remain vigilant even after the vaccine becomes widely available. COVID-19 can still mutate, which will make the vaccines ineffectual. In order to stop the variants of COVID-19, more attention, time and resources will need to be allocated to create better vaccines. Thus, we should also be aware that getting vaccinated now will help us prevent another virus outbreak, saving many lives.

Since all of the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, we can rely upon the judgment of the experts who deal with public health on a daily basis. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been proven to have an efficacy rate of nearly 95%. This rate of this efficiency is applied to all people who have recieved the vaccine, regardless of their sex, age, ethnicity or race. Also, almost everybody is able to receive these vaccines without major concern. There are some people who have severe allergies to the ingredients of these vaccines, but both Moderna and Pfizer are working to correct this issue as soon as possible. 

Despite all of this, there are multiple groups online that are spreading rumors that the COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Historically, vaccines for similarly deadly diseases like polio or smallpox took years to develop, test and roll out. The comparatively quick turn-around time for COVID-19 vaccines has made many suspicious, as have its reported high rates of success. 

What we must remember, however, is that our technology has evolved by leaps and bounds since the polio and smallpox vaccines. Technology back then was comparatively immature, and did not give researchers the same amount of information on a vaccine’s efficiency or problems. It is also important to note that, unlike before, a quick alteration to a defective vaccine is possible.

COVID-19 vaccines have been drastically cutting infection rates since they have been approved. If we want to see the end of this deadly virus, we should vaccinate ourselves and motivate others to vaccinate as soon as possible.

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