Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

It’s coming down to crunch time.

To date, there have not been enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to go around. The number of people who want one has outpaced the rate at which they’ve been delivered. But that is going to start to change this month as millions more doses, from AstraZeneca to Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, flood into the country and filter down to British Columbia for distribution.

What we will need is for everyone to roll up their sleeves and get one.

This is the problem the U.S. is concerned about right now.

The Americans are ahead of us in their vaccine rollout (due in no small part to their ability to manufacture their own), but officials are very worried that in spite of their ample supply not enough people are going to be willing to get vaccinated to achieve a herd immunity level of safety. Herd immunity, or community immunity, is vital to protect those who are unable to be vaccinated, and to stop the spread of the infection in a population. The more spread, the more chance of varients popping up that are more infectious and more deadly, and possibly resistant to our vaccines.

Thankfully, the pandemic has not been politicized in Canada to the same degree it has in the U.S. The number of hard core folks opposed to vaccines or scared off by conspiracy theories circulating about the pandemic is smaller. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t Canadians who are hesitant to get a vaccination.

These are the folks we need to address. They aren’t quacks, or stupid or intransigent on the subject of vaccines. They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet. They’re uneasy.

If you talk to these folks, who may well be your own friends, neighbours or relatives, they will often tell you they just want to wait a bit and see. If you ask them, however, what it is they are waiting for, they probably can’t tell you.

What is the piece of evidence that will convince you to get a vaccine? Yes, these are new medicines, but they have already been taken by millions and have proven to be safe and effective both in clinical trials required by our governments and in practice through mass distribution. Serious adverse side effects are incredibly rare, and no more likely than with many of the common medications you take all the time.

Why can’t you just wait a bit? Because this is urgent. We can’t wait for some indeterminate and arbitrary timeframe chosen by you, just because. More than 24,000 people in Canada have died from COVID and 1,500 in B.C. People in Cowichan have died.

It’s time to literally roll up our sleeves and pitch in to beat this virus.

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