With controversial opinions, one can undoubtedly be met with backlash and opposition from those unwilling to listen. This is the unfortunate reality for many health officials trying to battle the anti-vaxxer mentality that resides in every province of Canada. Although the majority of the population attempts to look at the greater good, a small portion unfortunately do not share the same mindset, and further prolong the pandemic by ignoring coronavirus safety rules (refusing to wear masks, social distance, etc). Fear of the COVID-19 vaccine’s overall safety stems from misinformation and false assumptions, which can be ignored and set aside by those that look at the situation from a logical standpoint. Getting vaccinated may pose a small risk of temporary side effects, but compared to the symptoms of the Coronavirus, it seems almost negligible.
The arguments for vaccines have always revolved around extreme side effects and the fear of getting an unknown substance directly injected into your bloodstream. According to an article by CTVnews, this mentality has been existent for almost 100 years, as similar speculations/concerns were found on anti-vaccine pamphlets from the 1920’s. These vaccine pamphlets argued that vaccines would cause alleged side effects, and were generally suspicious of modern medicine. Although it is normal to be somewhat fearful of needles and the potential side effects of vaccines, I would never take the product unless I know it is always backed by support and clinical evidence.
Some of the side effects blown out of proportion revolved around false symptoms and modern superstitions such as “implants” injected into the bloodstream with coronavirus vaccines. Another, somewhat “popular” argument that the anti-vaxxer community enforces is the claim that vaccines cause autism in young children. Ingredients in the vaccine for influenza have certain parents convinced that they are the causes of certain illnesses and afflictions in children, however, in my opinion it would do more harm to avoid the vaccine completely then to take the risk of getting “sick”.
These similar arguments were also a result of the same influences: mistrust and misinformation surrounding those in the medical field. Superstitions surrounding the smallpox vaccine were caused by false accusations claiming it would be a cause of syphilis, (which was based on inaccurate medical reports). Other stories were crafted in order to emotionally influence others by involving personal narratives, such as claiming a family developed severe throat infections after being treated for diphtheria.
Despite the claims of the anti-vaxxers, there has been an increasing vaccine rollout and staggeringly low case numbers over the past few months. With all the provinces and territories having over half of their population on the verge of becoming fully vaccinated, I believe that Canada is almost out of quarantine. I think it is more than reasonable to have facilities such as gyms, museums, movie theatres and restaurants to open again provided people remained a minimum distance of two metres apart.
It is normal to have fears regarding the vaccine, and although it may give flu-like symptoms for a day or two, the positives outweigh the negatives tenfold. I have received the vaccine myself, and had nothing but a sore arm for a few hours following both the first and second shot. Personally, I would endure a sore arm for a few hours to be able to live normally; finally being able to go out in public without fear of catching or spreading the virus is one of the many positives that the majority of the population would like to enjoy again.
Although some of the population refuses to follow through with getting vaccinated and prolongs the seemingly endless state of quarantine and the lockdown, the final stages are almost through. Once more of the population receives their second dose, Canadians may finally be able to live their lives like normal, and fear of the Coronavirus can finally be ignored. If everyone does their part, not only are we furthering our chances of returning to normal, but also preventing more meaningless cases and deaths from further spreading cases.
- Jennifer Ferreria, “New media, old messages: Why anti-vaccine arguments haven’t changed in 100 years”, CTV News, June 25, 2021 https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/new-media-old-messages-why-anti-vaccine-arguments-haven-t-changed-in-100-years-1.5485419
- Amy Boulanger “Understanding Opposition to Vaccines”, Healthline, Sept 15, 2017 https://www.healthline.com/health/vaccinations/opposition#not-new
- Abby Neufeld “Here’s what will open when Ontario enters Step 3 of its reopening plan on July 16”, CTV News, July 9, 2021 https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/here-s-what-will-open-when-ontario-enters-step-3-of-its-reopening-plan-on-july-16-1.5503149