Letter: County commissioners got it right — get vaccinated
Two recent letters to the editor fumed about the “tyranny” of county commissioners and about Tim Corrigan’s statement urging vaccination so as to achieve herd immunity, remove restrictions and re-open. Both letters scapegoated commissioners for “failing to follow the science.” Ironically, neither author is a scientist nor a physician.
Are the authors perhaps motivated by a political agenda, not science? As a physician-scientist who spent years investigating viral disease therapies, I am convinced that commissioners have done an outstanding job, making challenging policy decisions based on science, not fear-mongering, internet conspiracy theories or politics. I support the commissioners and believe that a majority of our community agrees.
In addition to “you’re-not-the-boss-of-me” rationalizations (a.k.a. “freedom”), part of the fear rhetoric is that vaccines were developed rapidly and may not be safe. Actually, Moderna and Pfizer hit home runs with an entirely new approach that allowed rapid vaccine development/deployment. Their RNA technology was 10-plus years in the making and proved in clinical trials be more effective (~95%) and safer than traditional vaccines.
No, it can’t mess with your chromosomes, nor is it going to microchip your brain. J&J’s vaccine is as effective as earlier flu vaccines (~70%). Serious complications are rare (estimated at 1 in a million), weighed against >10,000-fold greater risk to the unvaccinated of death or long-hauler complications from infection.
Achieving herd immunity also lessens the risk that new, more transmissible, more virulent viral strains will evolve and escape vaccine protection. Do we want to go back to the drawing board?
And “vaccine passports”? Responsible businesses may soon require them, not because of political dictates, but out of respect for their customers whose patronage they desire. Airlines, restaurants and schools are considering or already implementing this. This has nothing to do with the commissioners but is about the right of private businesses to make their own rules. Those who believe that their assertions of “personal freedom” outweigh the rights businesses enjoy should be prepared to be excluded from some businesses.
Rather than haranguing conscientious political leaders who are doing their jobs to protect public health, just get vaccinated. Do it for yourself and for your community! Returning to normal is up to us all.
Dave Lambeth, M.D. PhD
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