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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Opinion

The COVID-19 vaccine is a privilege


The COVID-19 vaccine is a privilege

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

While many Americans are still hesitant or will even refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, they fail to realize the vaccine is a privilege that many other people don’t have.

UH just implemented their Vaccine Incentive Program promising students $50 in ShastaBucks for voluntarily getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Lina Hidalgo also implemented her own incentive program promising $100 to those who get vaccinated at a Harris County Public Health site. In fact, there are vaccine incentive programs happening all over the country.

Despite all of these incentives, people are still hesitant to get the vaccine with misinformation backing up the decision. People fear the vaccine will implant a chip in their body, mess with their fertility or even go as far as to say the vaccine is a scheme to lower the world’s population

All of these claims, including several others, have been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as medical professionals around the world. 

In the beginning, the doubt surrounding the vaccine was understandable. Normally, a vaccine takes over 10 years to make, but with the COVID-19 vaccine, it only took around a year. This feat was only possible through a $2 billion investment and a collaborated effort from medical officials all over the world. 

With advanced technology and the ability to communicate in real-time with people from other countries, the time frame is realistic. 

Additionally, with almost all the clinical trial studies available for the public to access, there is no reason to question the authenticity of the vaccine; It is safe and it has saved around 140,000 lives.

Nevertheless, people against the vaccine still exist. 

Meanwhile, in many parts of the world, people wish to be vaccinated but are unable to because of shortages. In America, people are denying a vaccine that’s readily available for them. This is a privilege many Americans don’t realize they have. 

American doubt and hesitancy is only prolonging the pandemic and hurting those who are the most vulnerable during these times. Those who can’t get the vaccine because of health problems or because they are too young are at high risk for COVID-19. 

Vaccine hesitancy not only prolongs the pandemic but also contributes to vaccine nationalism. 

Western countries began monopolizing the distribution of vaccines. The U.S. held all the patents and only offers to help in the form of donations rather than providing the information needed for countries to produce their own vaccines.

Although donations are nice, it is not enough to meet the demand for countries lacking the resources. Some countries are able to overproduce vaccines while others struggle to decide on which citizens need the vaccine more. 

It’s an unfair ordeal that while some countries have small vaccination rates, knowledge to make the vaccine could be shared but it isn’t.

America places a large emphasis on the right to freedom and the right to choose, but when it comes to the wellbeing and safety of others, the focus should be on the collective rather than the individual. 

By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you’re not only protecting yourself from the virus but others as well. If you have no medical conditions or allergies preventing you from taking the vaccine then there is no need to wait. Understand that there are people in other countries who wish they had the same opportunity to protect themselves from COVID-19. 

Vaccines are a privilege and everyone should get vaccinated as soon as they can. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a Journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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