A large number of people still look at vaccination against Covid-19 with doubt and pessimism
Viruses and bacteria have been humanity’s constant companions since the dawn of time. Throughout history there have been numerous major diseases, plagues and epidemics that decimated humanity. While the majority of the viral or bacterial diseases cause nothing more than a mild inconvenience for a majority of people — think influenza — every few decades we have a more dangerous outbreak ready to ravage the society.
Our major line of defence against most viral diseases are the vaccines that have proven incredibly efficient. A major example of this smallpox which has been completely eradicated from the planet, thanks to mass inoculation.
Of late, the topic of vaccines has become quite relevant, as pharmaceutical companies around the world have rolled out their vaccines for Covid-19. Vaccination is the only ray of hope that we have of getting out of the terrible situation we find ourselves in. Yet, many people still look at the many vaccines with doubt and pessimism.
The existence of these doubters, so to say, is a cause of concern; after all, the vaccine would hardly be effective in combating the virus if a significant chunk of the population refused to get it.
The issue seems to be with regard to health concerns and potential side effects of the vaccine. Many people in Pakistan, especially the poor, have rarely (if ever) received a vaccine before and are, therefore, understandably apprehensive. Add to this the vast amount of misinformation flying around the internet regarding the vaccines and their potential harmful effects, and the already anxious people are now downright scared.
Then there are those who view the vaccine as some sort of a magical cure. They believe that one dose of it and they’ll be immune to catching the virus.
There is, of course, the added drawback of many people simply not taking Covid seriously enough, despite the high death toll. Hardly a day goes by without someone complaining that the virus is simply a hoax. There are also the conspiracy theorists that have far-fetched ideas that add fuel to this fire. All of this combines to make a significant mass of people outright refusing to get vaccinated, severely stunting the possibility of us getting out of this situation.
Then there are those who view the vaccine as some sort of a magical cure. They believe that one dose of it and they’ll be immune to catching the virus. This almost fanatical belief has led them to procure the vaccine at all costs, literally. People are rushing to spend exorbitant amounts of money to be vaccinated. Their haste is creating problems for others. After all, economics tells us that an increased demand leads to an inflated price.
The major reason for these misconceptions is inadequate knowledge and lack of understanding of how the vaccines work. After all, the less you know about something, the more assumptions you’ve to make and you are liable to get some things or, in this case, a lot of things, wrong.
All in all, we find varied opinions and beliefs around vaccination — people either view it as an attempt to harm us, or they consider it as a holy grail. Given the circumstances, it is almost impossible to tell which approach is worse. All we can do is to hope that mass vaccination does what it is supposed to do and returns the world to its pre-Covid state.
The writer is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at NUST, Islamabad. He can be reached at [email protected]