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Many employees of the college received the vaccine. Courtesy | Hillsdale Hospital

In last week’s Col­legian issue, Ashley Kaitz argued that the long-term risks asso­ciated with the COVID-19 vaccine out­weigh its potential benefits. 

However, the societal and per­sonal ben­efits of vac­ci­nation far out­weigh the low-chance dangers related to the injection.

Almost every choice we make presents some inherent danger. Driving a motor vehicle in 2019 carried with it a 34% death rate in car crashes, according to the U.S Department of Trans­portation Fatality Reporting System. Deliv­ering a baby in 2015 had a .0003% chance of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Pre­vention. Simply mag­ni­fying the 970 deaths which occurred after people were injected with the vaccine presents a fun­da­mental flaw when over 31 million indi­viduals had been vac­ci­nated, according to Our World in Data. If we were to follow this argument to its logical extreme, people shouldn’t have a family because of the dangers of child­birth. People shouldn’t leave their homes because of the risks of being mugged. The list goes on. It would be absurd to cite such small odds as a proper defense for the argument against vaccination.

Addi­tionally, Kaitz raises the prospect that the “con­di­tional approval for emer­gency autho­rization” is a sig­nif­icant flaw with the vaccine’s devel­opment since most vac­cines take decades to be autho­rized for general use. However, the FDA’s emer­gency autho­rization refers to pri­or­i­tizing clearing stan­dards. This means exper­i­mental treat­ments will move to the front of the line to clear the bureau­cratic hurdles to dis­tribute the treatment more quickly during public health emer­gencies like the COVID-19 pan­demic. Throughout the emer­gency autho­rization process, the FDA main­tains the same stan­dards required for regular vaccines.

“COVID-19 vac­cines are under­going a rig­orous devel­opment process that includes tens of thou­sands of study par­tic­i­pants to gen­erate the needed non-clinical, clinical, and man­u­fac­turing data,” the FDA said. “FDA will undertake a com­pre­hensive eval­u­ation of this infor­mation sub­mitted by a vaccine manufacturer.”

Since the beginning of the pan­demic, people have hoped and prayed for pro­tection from the virus. Today, we have several dif­ferent vac­cines which make that dream a reality. Yet, some anti-vaccine argu­ments rely on a pseudo-sci­en­tific nar­rative of fear to dis­suade people from choosing to vac­cinate them­selves from COVID-19.

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is not “submit[ing] unques­tionably to the needle” nor a response to a simple “incon­ve­nience.” It is a proactive decision that pro­tects our loved ones and alle­viates per­sonal risk to our way of life. There are real-world con­se­quences to every action, the question for people deciding whether to vac­cinate should not be whether the vaccine is risky, but if the virus itself is a risk they are willing to bear.

 

Josh Hypes is a freshman studying politics.