Why Is Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine So Vital to Ending the Pandemic?

Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic posed many public health challenges worldwide. Regardless of whether or not a person resided in an outbreak zone, governments around the world took unprecedented steps to limit person-to-person contact – and save lives.

Slowing the spread of the contagion – a novel bat coronavirus that never had before infected human beings – became top priority from Wuhan, China, to New York City and beyond.

During the early months of the pandemic, there was no means to limit viral transmission other than physically distancing people and requiring face coverings in public.

But thankfully, the world now has access to several different vaccines to finally make progress against the pandemic’s disruption to personal livelihoods and entire ways of life.

Without a massive global vaccination campaign, there will be no final conclusion to the damages that COVID-19 has wrought upon the world.

COVID-19 – A global health crisis like no other

Nations haven’t had to marshal healthcare capacity and state-of-the-art medical innovation on such a scale in over 100 years since the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu pandemic.

That global health crisis alone killed an estimated 50 million people, infecting as much as 1/3 of the world’s population with a highly contagious and mutable H1N1 influenza virus.

By comparison, at the time of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed as many as 2.72 million people worldwide as of March 2021, infecting as many as 124 million people, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The good news is that countries are beginning to progress against COVID-19 through mass vaccination, totaling 458 million vaccinations worldwide so far.

But the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy may derail that progress if the spread of new infections outpaces the administration rate of the vaccination campaign itself.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis like no other, and researchers are still in the process of studying why that’s so.

The pandemic’s detrimental impact on economic activity and ordinary social interaction won’t come to light until the vaccination rate increases worldwide.

That said, the information that follows represents what the scientific and medical community currently knows about the COVID-19 vaccination.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective?

There’s no such thing as a perfect vaccine – period.

That’s the bottom line fact and what people need to understand before eschewing physical distancing and face coverings once and for all.

Vaccine efficacy – its success rate – will vary person-to-person, as will any side effects like pain in the injection site and muscle soreness too.

Still, researchers worldwide agree on this point: the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are reasonably safe and effective based on all available clinical data.

The keyword here is reasonable as no vaccine is absolutely 100 percent successful at preventing infection altogether. If it were able to do so, it would be a cure, not a vaccine, to protect against disease.

Overall, the purpose of any vaccine is to significantly reduce the likelihood – lower the probability, that is – of becoming severely ill after infection.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine kill people by the millions?

No, the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t kill people on a massive scale that would outweigh the known benefits of mass vaccination: more minor illness and less transmission to reduce deaths in the end.

Currently, approximately 109 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that figure, the CDC has received about 1,913 reports of possible deaths after receiving the vaccine.

It’s critical to note that a report of a death isn’t indisputable evidence that the vaccine will inadvertently kill people.

What we do know for sure about the COVID-19 vaccines previously mentioned is that they have, indeed, caused allergic reactions in rare instances.

But all vaccines can cause allergic reactions, anaphylaxis specifically, in a low number of people.

How often does a COVID-19 vaccination cause an allergic reaction?

Information from the CDC places the rate of anaphylaxis after a COVID-19 vaccination at two to five people per million vaccinations administered.

That equates to a probability of 0.000005 percent, much smaller than the likelihood of contracting coronavirus if you had no vaccine.

Generally, if a person has never had an allergic reaction to a medication or vaccine, their likelihood of an adverse reaction from a COVID-19 is minuscule.

The critical question to ask remains: does the benefit of the vaccine outweigh the risk of illness and death?

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, the answer is a resounding yes. Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are effective and will beat the coronavirus if enough people accept them.

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