I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Late Show earlier this week. Dr. Gupta pointed out that
“vaccines are 90% effective. I don’t think we can celebrate that enough. They were developed so fast and are so effective, it will fundamentally change science. It will change the pace of medical innovation. Those mRNA vaccines may be therapies for cancer in the future.”
And yet astonishingly, many people don’t trust them! Not only that, they don’t even want to take them. They are turning their backs on one of the wonders of science! Instead, people turn to ignorant friends for medical advice. They listen to friends who get their information from dubious sources on the Internet instead of these astounding scientists who have been working their hearts out to help us. How can this be?
Vaccines are one of the greatest wonders of modern science. In the 19th century 95% of all people died from infectious diseases. Now in the 21st century only 5% of people die from infectious diseases. Vaccines are one of the main reasons that people in the 20th century lived twice as much longer as those in the 19th century. And this is mainly because of vaccines.
And yet so many people distrust them. How can this possibly be the case?
I remember when I was a very young lad in the 1950s polio was the infectious disease that scared everyone. There was a man living down the street from us, half a block away. He contracted polio. We feared that like so many others he would have to live in an ‘iron lung’ for the rest of his life. Many patients died. I remember when the polio vaccine was developed and I could hardly wait to get it. It was new technology, like the Covid-19 vaccines, but we all wanted it immediately.
After the introduction of polio vaccines the illness has been virtually eliminated. The last person in the US who contracted the illness naturally died in 1979.
Sadly, many people today don’t believe in the vaccines. They think they are risky. Some are waiting for the rest of us to take them and test them out like guinea pigs. They want us to blaze a trail for them before they take them.
Many people were surprised at how quickly scientists discovered vaccines for Covid-19. I know I was one of them. But there were things I did not know. Scientists have been working on the mRNA vaccines for about 10 years. This was not magical new technology.
Anti-vaxxers used to warn us that vaccines were very dangerous because they required insertion of the virus into our bodies to generate an immune response. That does sound risky doesn’t it? These technologies don’t do that, they “teach” our cells how to make the proteins that will trigger an immune response to the new coronavirus SARS- CoV-2. They don’t require the insertion of the virus into our bodies. Anti-vaxxers should be rejoicing! Then our own bodies make the anti-bodies to recognize the virus when it appears in our bodies at a future time.
We should rejoice that we have so many smart scientists to develop vaccines. We should trust them.