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Vaccine Crop12

As I grow older, I realize more and more how much I rely on experts. Over the course of my life, I have, like we all do, gathered a team of required people in my life. From a doctor to an accountant to a mechanic, I have people to go to when I have shortfalls in my own knowledge.

Recently it seems that more and more of us have stopped listening to experts, though, and started listening to the very vocal minority. It’s so easy to think, for example, “I hate wearing a mask!” and then find information supporting the fact that masks are “bad.”

It’s so easy to do this, in fact, that there’s a name for it; confirmation bias. Brittanica defines it like this: “Confirmation bias, the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one's existing beliefs… People are especially likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is highly important or self-relevant.”

The problem there lies in the last part—we are especially likely to do it when the issue at hand is very important in general or very important to us in the moment.

Confirmation bias can create absolutely wild conspiracy theories. A theory gets posted online, then people spot that theory and it gains traction. Before you know it, a wild supposition becomes what some will come to consider a “fact.”

Consider the shape of the earth. As early as 600 BCE, humans knew that the earth was round. By examining the physical properties of the planet, such as the way shadows move and the way the sun rises and falls, early philosophers and scientists could determine that the earth was roughly spherical.

Over the past decade or so, however, flat earth theories have begun to take off. According to this poll, carried out by YouGove in 2018, only 66 percent of millennials firmly believe that the earth is round.

Sixty-six percent!

Can we not trust thousands of years of science? Can we not trust our own knowledge? Our own eyes?

It seems to be the same with COVID-19. We see the effects of this virus with our own eyes. We all complain—well, almost all—about not seeing loved ones, having to wear masks, and not sitting down at restaurants.

But when the government and scientists tell us what we can do to bring an end to this pandemic, some of us balk.

The masks are uncomfortable, it’s true. The social distancing is hard. I miss hugging! But there is scientific proof that these measures help.

And now we have a vaccine, an absolutely astonishing feat of rapid scientific testing combined with massive government funding. The world was shut down by a pandemic and our experts got us a vaccine!

And some of us won’t take it.

“Well, there are too many side effects.”

There are potential side effects, yes. As there are with Advil, and that prescription blood pressure medication you take. All medications have potential side effects but rarely are they serious.

To be fair, my arm was a little sore after the vaccine and I thought making dinner might be difficult, so that was a great excuse to treat my family to a takeout meal from our local Chicken Chef.

Many of us heard the scary news about blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s true that the government of Canada estimates that approximately four instances of blood clots will occur out of approximately every one million vaccinations, give or take.

Those are really, really good odds. Your chance of getting the virus right now in Manitoba—and developing COVID-induced blood clots—is vastly higher than your chance of getting a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“I don’t care if I get the virus. I’m young and healthy. It’s no worse than the flu.”

That’s true, too, for some. For some, it’s basically a bad cold. However, whether it’s minor for you or you’re asymptomatic, you can still pass it to others and they might not be so lucky.

A friend of my husband’s developed COVID a few weeks ago. A man in his forties. He got very sick and spent weeks in the hospital. He eventually ended up in the ICU—and then he was put into a medically induced coma.

Slowly he began to get better, to the point where the doctors thought he was safe.

But then, out of nowhere, he had a heart attack and he died. He left behind a wife he had known since elementary school and three kids, the youngest of whom is only ten.

He died alone in the hospital because his family couldn’t risk their health.

“I believe the vaccine is not thoroughly tested enough.”

It was. It was created quickly, but much of the reason that these kinds of medical breakthroughs normally take longer is because of slow-moving paperwork and funding and international collaborations.

New medications waiting to be approved have to wait in line behind all the other medications waiting to be approved. The COVID-19 vaccine was simply bumped ahead of everything else. Because the world was suffering so acutely, government agencies provided nearly unlimited funding and promoted the testing process for this drug right to the front of the line so we could get the world back to normal more quickly.

This article from CTV News describes the vaccine development process more in depth.

The vaccine wasn’t approved because corners were cut; it was approved because the world worked together to make it happen.

“The vaccine is a conspiracy. It will inject me with something that can be used to track me.”

No. It won’t. This article explains where that error came from. Essentially, the outside of some syringes will have a microchip that the medical professional administering it can scan if they want to record when and where the vaccine was given. The microchip does not enter your body.

“The vaccine will bring about the biblical end of days.”

If this is your belief, I urge you to reread 1 Thessalonians 5:1–2, which goes like this: “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (NIV).

The Bible does not provide its proponents a timeline or a map to the apocalypse. What it gives believers is a warning: it could happen at any time.

You getting the COVID-19 vaccine is not going to change God’s plan.

If you have concerns about the vaccine, by all means educate yourself! Contact your doctor or pharmacist. Ask that nurse who lives down the street. Read about it on large-scale medical or government websites.

And then get the shot. Please. If not for yourself, then do it for your kids or grandkids.

Do it for the immunocompromised or elderly who are at such great risk from this virus.

Do it for your community.

Do it for all of us so that life can go back to what it was and we can enjoy this beautiful Manitoba summer.

Please, get vaccinated.

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