America and Americans are best known for their fighting spirit and ability to rebound. A case in point was the 2008 economic downturn when stock markets had nosedived, people lost jobs, and many lost their savings and retirement accounts. Some also had to declare bankruptcy or foreclose homes. It took time to be back on one’s feet, but people did it. America did it.
Switch to the year 2020. The world faced one of the worst pandemics in its history, considering widespread infection, deaths, the severity of illness, and much more. The healthcare system seemed to buckle down under the COVID-19 stress. The situation has improved, but the scars are too fresh, especially as one after another variant is dominating, even though the newer ones are not as potent as the original one.
The historical data display more than one million COVID patients died in the US, and countless others had to stay in ICU to recover. Those people developed PTSD, anxiety, and other health complications. Intensive therapy could help, but the healthcare facilities were already overburdened.
Amid this, if there has been something that worked as a protective shield for everyone, including the at-high-risk individuals, it is vaccination. MayBioSource’s survey of 3243 participants shows that places like Maryland, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Connecticut support vaccine mandates. All of them favor this move by more than 70%.
However, there is still a vast population that opposes the idea of vaccination. They perceive it as an encroachment on their freedom despite the health agencies and the government presenting data about the amount of protection it ensures. Of course, in this also, there are different categories of people. But let’s find out why people have developed a mistrust of vaccination and boosters.
Misinformation, notions, and much more around COVID vaccines
According to pediatrician Robert Froehlke, people believe that vaccines make them more vulnerable to COVID infection and don’t minimize their risk. And when someone of experience and name talks about this on a national platform, they get more convinced. Some people have started doubting medical expertise also. If an experienced and trained doctor tells them about official guidelines and CDC, they consider them a shill.
George Washington University’s associate professor David Broniatowski feels that the most dominant population of the country is most vulnerable at this stage because of the skulduggery around COVID vaccines. Before the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned vaccine hesitancy in the list of top global health threats in 2019.
WHO blames infodemic to be the cause of vaccine hesitancy among people. Infodemic is nothing but piles of wrong and conspiratorial information about diseases that instigate people not to trust medical practices that save their lives. Presently, the target is COVID vaccines that anti-vaccine groups feel are an attack on their freedom.
However, experts also inform that one should not look at this situation as any movement. It is instead an outcome of specific interests. Some people don’t like to be labeled as anti-vaccine also. They prefer tags like “vaccine skeptical,” “pro-safe vaccine,” etc. Some may be using the anti-vaccine idea to make money. Like this, plenty of things are responsible for driving up the hesitancy.
The spillover effect of COVID-19 hesitancy effect
Unfortunately, the impact of most popular trends doesn’t stay limited to them. They affect other aspects of life. The rise of opposition to the COVID vaccine has made parents suspicious about vaccines administered to children to save them from life-threatening diseases. The medical practitioner in Denver suburb Froehlke says that many parents didn’t want their kids to have vaccines because they wanted them to lead a natural lifestyle.
Some parents didn’t want kids to go through the vaccine’s stress on their bodies and would ask for other schedules. However, it’s a new situation where doctors come across parents who don’t want kids to take additional vaccines despite having completed a few already. They are not ready for booster doses of the same injections their kids had taken earlier.
Similar emotions or sentiments echo across Southern California, Houston, Texas, rural Alabama, Savannah, Ga, and other places.
As per CDC data, childhood vaccination has dropped by 1% since the COVID outbreak. Between 2020 and 2021, only about 92% of kindergarten students have taken their vaccine shots; this percentage was 95% a year before. The drop also signifies that only 35,000 kids have taken their scheduled immunity shots.
An estimate also hints that the number of skeptical questions has increased by almost 5-10% in the last three years. It is a worrisome development because such notions and behaviors can likely ruin all efforts to curb infectious illnesses.
Given the circumstances, one can easily predict the decision of most parents regarding COVID-19 vaccination for kids. According to Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey, more than four out of 10 parents don’t want their kids younger than five years to take COVID shots.