The misinformation and skepticism surrounding the administration of vaccines is not a new problem in the U.S. This baseless skepticism has grown to be more dangerous and widespread due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate on whether vaccinations are safe and should be mandatory has been around for ages. The main reason people are hesitant about taking vaccinations is a lack of education on the science behind the vaccine. This controversy has intensified as COVID-19 has taken over life in the U.S.
While many are hoping that a vaccine will be administered quickly so that life could go back to normal, some individuals are pushing back against a vaccine. These people who find themselves against the idea of a vaccine have taken to social media and other outlets to express their concerns, whether they are factual or not.
The biggest concern people have is that the vaccine was rushed and not safe for the public to use. While there is no evidence behind this claim, the fear has caused widespread panic in the U.S. and many government officials and scientists have attempted to calm this. Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed the public earlier this week and said that this vaccine should not be feared, especially after it receives U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Scientists are urging people to get their information from reputable news sources that use scientific facts as a basis for news, rather than social media sites. By listening to science instead of social media, the anxiety that people have over this vaccine could be diminished quickly.
This pandemic has taken over the lives of millions, if not everyone, and dramatically altered everyday life. This vaccine is the first step in repairing the U.S. after COVID-19 and it can substantially change the lives of millions.
The people who are attempting to block this vaccine and spread misinformation due to their personal beliefs are not only acting out of false information but of selfishness — refusing to acknowledge copious evidence that vaccines are safe and there is no reason to fear this one. This is also not a partisan issue. There are people out there who are counting on a vaccine so that they can return to their jobs and see their loved ones. There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, yet people are trying to use fear as a tactic to stop this vaccine from helping the nation.
The U.S. is in a moment where fear and anxiety have taken over the general population. The last thing we need is for misinformation on a vaccine to add to this fear and anxiety — as per Fauci, if enough people refuse the vaccine, it won't help as much as it could with slowing the spread and ebbing the death rate of the virus. What the public needs to do in this time is to follow top health officials who are trying to lead us out of this with as many lives spared as possible.
Trust in our scientists is essential to finding our way out of not only the pandemic, but many issues facing humankind that are unavoidable. Filtering out any misleading information is imperative for keeping the public calm, protecting ourselves from the virus and stopping misunderstanding of vaccines. The last thing the U.S. needs is for fear to take over the public to the point where major scientific discoveries are prevented from being believed based on false accusations.
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Payton Toomey is a sophomore majoring in journalism and information sciences and eSociety. She loves to cook and golf in her free time.