Opinion Graphic

On Thursday’s second presidential debate, President Trump said that a vaccine could be available “within weeks.” Although it is highly unlikely that this will happen, it is important for all of us to wait to take the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that it should be known whether a vaccine is safe by early December and that it wouldn’t be until the second or third quarter of 2021 when it would have mass distribution. This does not mean that there will be a safe vaccine immediately available; it just means that we’ll know whether or not the current vaccines in trial are safe. There may be more research to be done, and the infrastructure will need to be set up to mass produce and supply the vaccine to medical providers. 

This week, two vaccine trials had to restart due to safety concerns. The trials were both halted in early September after participants developed illnesses. While it was later concluded that the strokes were not related to the vaccines, it still does not mean there can’t be long-term effects related to vaccines. There are multiple vaccines that have adverse effects, such as the HPV and MMR vaccines. The vaccine for the flu, which is also easily spread, is only between 40-60% effective.

This is not an anti-vaccination argument. Vaccines are an important tool in modern medicine and have allowed for the eradication of many deadly diseases. Rather, this is an argument that you shouldn’t be the first person to take the vaccine. If the first vaccine approved has a low effectiveness rate and causes a known side effect, then you should see if you are susceptible to any side effects and determine whether it is a safe choice for you or not.

Another thing to consider is that there are multiple vaccine trials going on right now. Along with research by private pharmaceutical companies, there is also research in the public sector. This means that there may be a better vaccine approved after the first one is released. Why not wait to see if a vaccine that is more effective or safer is approved? Through the use of vaccines, we are changing our bodies, so we should make sure it is as safe as possible.

If you choose to wait for a vaccine, you should continue to follow social distancing and mask guidelines because we know these are both safe and effective. Until it is widely available and any side effects are made public, we should continue to follow state and local guidelines to make sure that we can still prevent transmission of the disease. It is our imperative to do our part during the pandemic.

In the next few months as we wait for a vaccine, we should consider all options. Continue to do your part amid this health crisis while also making sure you do what’s best for your health. Wait until there are multiple options for vaccines and find the one that is the safest and most effective. With the right tools, we can make sure the pandemic is dealt with properly.