Vaccinations have proven themselves over and over, reducing the harm of some diseases and even eliminating others. However, the Covid-19 vaccine has produced some strong negative reactions.
Of course, there are some who have had adverse reactions - including less the .002% of fatalities following vaccination. The deaths are not necessarily caused by the vaccine. Reviews have usually not found a vaccine-rated cause, but even this is cause for doubt by some. If we were in other countries such as Russia or China with a proven track record of disinformation, this would be more credible.
So why are some people anti-vax? Those who are against all vaccines I have no idea, given the vast numbers of vaccines and the undoubted good they have done. I have no insights into universal opposition to vaccines - to me, it makes no sense given the track record of vaccines over the years in so many people. It doesn't mean all vaccines are definitely safe for all people, but blanket opposition to vaccines is not sensible.
Moving on to vaccine hesitancy in general, most vaccines are injected, so there is a small number of people who dread needles. I'm not talking about the natural preference not to be injected. I spent some time on dialysis which uses larger than normal needles. During that time I even moved beyond my preference to have a local before they stuck the big needles - it was simply an idea I adjusted once the reality of the situation became clear. For the relatively few who dread needles, there are techniques that can help.
There are negative reactions, not just to inoculations but to any medication. Just think of thalidomide - a wonder drug providing relief from nausea. Despite the wreckage it caused to so many pregnancies, I think it is still used in the fight against some forms of cancer. No one would naturally take thalidomide for nausea, but when faced with an enemy like cancer, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Individuals are ALL different I generally handle dairy fairly well but after 10 months of low health while my kidney was still minimally I decided I wouldn't take dialysis when it was offered - I'd had enough. One day (before the time came for dialysis) the supermarket was out of cheap milk, and as I browsed suggested zero lactose so my wife could try it. After two breakfasts my symptoms were all gone - so when the time came I had dialysis and eventually a transplant.
For years I did without the flu vaccine but eventually decided to try it. Since then I've not questioned the decision - it has saved so many hours of illness. In 2021 I had the flu shot before the covid-19 shots. It was the first year they used a special vaccine for over 65's. A nurse described it as like pumping treacle - and my arm was sore for days. Compared with that the Covid-19 shots were as near as possible to unnoticeable (my arm was slightly sore for a day or so).
I was more concerned about my compromised immune system. After talking with my GP, I found others who also could not get definitive answers. I decided to get vaccinated. I imagine I'll have a follow-up soon - it seems no one can adequately estimate how effective the vaccine is on my system, but a third is likely to boost my immunity. I just had to ask God about it.
Despite reading Eric Clapton's comments on his reactions to his own vaccine shots, I'm pleased I've had mine. My daughter has a friend who is a nurse in England. She saw far too many deaths, let alone serious illnesses in the first waves of covid-19. At least one of the deaths was a colleague of hers on the front line.
Hopefully, that keeps me from being labelled as a conspiracy theorist, although I have views on other things that could earn me that title by people unwilling to listen to alternative views.
I do have questions about the way our government has handled this entire process. There is no doubt our early success was in part due to our leader's ability to unite the nation. This was despite her refusal to answer questions by journalists at some stages. In terms of specialists, she chose people with who she agreed, which is fine - but others struggled for media attention. They didn't disagree completely - they just had different views on some parts of the strategy. Somewhat surprisingly much of this was on being too loose or too late with various actions.
Even though Delta would inevitably be damaging once it got here, why do we still not seem to have been prepared as well as we should have?
She obviously has strong critics in the world of business, and indeed much harm has been done to many, if not most small businesses. However, until Delta arrived her approach minimised our losses and served us well. The problem then became the delays in the vaccine rollout, which with the benefit of hindsight, should have been avoided. I admit to being one who thought that was just being noble, and not realising the cost.
The big problem is whoever our leader might be and whatever they decide, there will always be people for whom their decisions are less than ideal. This plays into the hand of conspiracy theorists, as well as those who have different beliefs. In this case, the major principle is from the Maori proverb our PM and I both value: the most important thing is the people, the people, the people.
For too long we've been conditioned to believe the dollar is our main aim. As an accountant, this is my world - but it's never as important as people. Of course, people need money to survive in today's world. You don't succeed in the long term by focussing on one at the expense of the other.
Even if the vaccine isn't perfect against covid-19, I add my call to anyone who has not had it, please consider it. I cannot guarantee it will be safe for every person - you need to make that decision for yourself. I can say that covid-19 doesn't seem to be going away of its own volition. It is certainly not safe. It is especially serious (or deadly) amongst the unvaccinated.
And if you are vaccinated, I might as well add a plea related to the common flu. We've seen deaths from flu drop in 2020 from about 500 - 600 to almost zero. If you show symptoms of the flu, please self-isolate (including staying away from work). Of course, it can be difficult to diagnose the flu. My wife is part of a long-term study into the flu vaccines, so always gets tested when she has symptoms. At times the nurse has been relatively sure she's had the flu, only to find it's some other virus. She's never tested positive for the flu. Sadly at least one other virus (RSV) is particularly damaging to infants, so we have to stay away from them when she has that.
All vaccines are your call, but there are already limitations on international travel without some vaccines. If you choose not to be vaccinated, please self-isolate when symptomatic. Otherwise, you are likely to kill Kiwis without even knowing it.