Opinion: Fear drives people’s hesitancy to vaccinate

We must be wary of giving in to unfounded fear

One thing, it seems, we can all agree on is that you can’t fix stupid.

The problem is, one thing, it seems, we cannot agree on is what constitutes stupid.

The world is months, if not years, away from having a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—but there are already anti-vaccine protests and violence associated with just the prospect of it.

Like all things human, there is a spectrum from those who are blindly willing to try anything a doctor is willing to prescribe to those who believe a potential vaccine is a vehicle by which Bill Gates is going to introduce microchip tracking of the human race.

Those who do or do not subscribe to a particular way of thinking are “sheeple,” lack critical thinking skills, stupid or are part of the conspiracy according to the other side.

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Where is the middle ground?

Fortunately, the middle ground is the science. The reason we don’t already have a vaccine is because medical researchers are skeptical. That, in fact, is the scientific process.

And we have governments that won’t approve the use of these things until they are proven to ward against overzealous opportunists or downright frauds.

The real danger may be that the disinformation and misinformation spreads just enough vaccine hesitancy among non-extremists that communities end up rejecting vaccines.

This is not even about SARS-CoV-2, it is about all the vaccine-preventable diseases that a generation ago were all but eliminated. And the fear may not even be about the science.

We are becoming a very distrustful society. Social anxiety could be driving a lot of the fear according to some researchers.

There are, of course, good reasons to be skeptical about corporations and governments. People do tend, after all, to be greedy.

But the bottom line is, we have the checks and balances in place to ensure when a vaccine becomes available, for whatever, it is safe and effective.

We must be wary of giving in to unfounded fear.

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