Can you see the light of normal life at the end of the COVID tunnel, yet?
We can. And we are stoked for it, but we are also aware we are not across the finish line yet, so to give up running this marathon would be folly.
With first dose vaccination rates slowing down in Alberta, and the threshold to remove all remaining restrictions just out of our reach, it is more important than ever those who are hesitant to get the vaccine take the time to really understand the issue causing them to give pause, and put some effort into making a decision to move forward with immunization.
Because getting the vaccine is the right thing to do.
The most important aspect of doing your own research into this issue is giving some thought to the credibility of the sources of information you are accessing. Is it your family doctor, or a video on YouTube shared by a family member?
It is true the development of these vaccines has been done on a timeline never seen before. But never before has the entire medical research community focused its attention entirely on one issue to solve, with millions of dollars in funding available.
The use of mRNA vaccines is brand new for the field of virology, but the idea and research behind it has been decades in the making.
When we consider a cost/benefit analysis of moving forward aggressively with approved vaccines to restore the every day functioning of our society to normal, versus taking more time to run these vaccines through additional trials, then the benefit of getting the vaccine distributed has a higher precedence.
For those who feel very strongly the process governments like ours in Canada have gone through to approve the vaccines, it becomes even more important for you to continue to stay on top of medical research into them, which will continue into the future. There will come a time when the amount of research and clinical trials being suggested as appropriate will be complete – when that point is reached, it is incumbent upon you to then take that next step and get inoculated.
As for the conspiracy theories and wild speculation around the side effects, or secret intentions to use the vaccine as a delivery device for nefarious intentions – the key in our minds is to see evidence to support any of these conclusions. Without evidence, the only thing these theories have is the ability to sound believable and that, frankly, is not good enough to convince us they have any credibility.
The UCP government and Premier Jason Kenney have been quite open and abundantly clear that getting a vaccine is a choice. For some workplaces, it may not be, and that is understandable and supportable.
Workplaces, like continuing care homes and hospitals, where employees work directly with those who are vulnerable to this virus and could die as a result of contracting it, will have to grapple with these issues and may require staff to be immunized in order to protect the health and safety of other employees and patients.
As we continue to debate people's rights and freedoms in this context, it is important to remember when the rights of two groups in our society comes into conflict, and on one side you have the potential for a person to die as a result of another person exercising their freedoms, the right to life takes precedence.
Firefighters, for example, are not allowed to grow beards. It interferes with the breathing apparatus they have to wear to enter a burning structure. Do we hear firefighters crying foul that their rights are being violated? No, because they recognize this is about public safety – including their own – and that is more important than their facial hair.
With the delta variant spreading in our province and plans to reopen gaining momentum, if you are hesitant to get the vaccine and haven't taken the step to book an appointment yet, we urge you to take this seriously and get involved in making this decision now, instead of waiting for later.
Who knows, you may win $1 million, too.