Get your COVID vaccine

Photo credit: Audrey La

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a political and divisive issue. The U.S. is fortunate enough to have widely accessible, free COVID-19 vaccinations, but only 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and variants that can overcome the vaccine, people need to get vaccinated.

To achieve herd immunity, it usually takes 70 – 90% of the population getting vaccinated. Doctors don’t have an exact number because variants are popping up and are more contagious than the original virus. This means the percentage of people who need to get vaccinated to contain the virus is going up.

Right now, Texas ICU beds are filling up, and the hospitals are reaching their maximum capacity because of patients with severe COVID-19.

According to a survey conducted by ABC News, 94% of COVID-19 patients in the ICU of 17 states were unvaccinated. You can help ICU beds stay open for people with unavoidable illnesses by getting vaccinated.

Now that the Delta variant is spreading and can infect vaccinated people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested again that everyone wear masks indoors. If more people had gotten vaccinated, we would probably still be maskless. Unless a doctor has advised you not to get it because of health issues, there is no excuse for not getting vaccinated.

Many young and healthy people believe that they don’t need the vaccine because they’re not in a high risk group. However, anyone can contract it and die or get a severe case.

Some people say we don’t know the persisting effects of the vaccine, but there have been no reported long-term side effects. On the contrary, many people have reported after recovering from COVID-19 that they are experiencing difficulty breathing, fatigue, brain fog, and the list keeps going. Doctors aren’t sure how long these lingering symptoms will last. It could be a few months, but it could possibly be permanent.

There are concerns that the COVID-19 vaccines could cause infertility. Doctors say there is no data to support this claim. There IS a possibility getting COVID-19 could affect fertility in men, and pregnant women who contract COVID-19 may get sicker than normal.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on pause in April after six women got blood clots and one died. This caused alarm for many people, but remember, at the time, that was six people out of 6.8 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is rare, and if that still makes you uncomfortable, Moderna and Pfizer are options.

Religious people may be leery of getting vaccinated because many vaccines use fetal cell lines, which is a cell taken from an aborted baby and multiplied. Fetal cell lines are used to create inactive viruses for vaccines. The cells used from abortions are from the 1960s and 1970s are still used today.

The good news about COVID-19 vaccines is there are multiple options that did not use fetal cell lines in the production of the vaccine, so there’s no religious reason to avoid getting vaccinated. Pfizer and Moderna do not use fetal cell lines.

Maybe you had COVID-19 and you think you don’t need to be vaccinated now. However, the CDC says antibodies are not recommended to assess immunity against COVID-19.

No one can force you to get vaccinated, but your decision affects everyone. We have an obligation to our communities, our family, our friends and ourselves to get vaccinated. It’s going to take everyone working together to be responsible and to care for our fellow human beings.