Aldrich: Vaccines best chance to return to normal, side-effects are extremely rare

We need to pump the breaks on fear over vaccines.

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We need to pump the breaks on fear over vaccines.

They are our best chance at getting back to some form of normalcy.

We cannot afford to let the smallest of potential risks prevent us from getting rid of health orders that have locked down our society and caused untold damage to our mental health, economy and those struggling with addictions and other issues.

The U.S. on Tuesday announced they were putting a pause on the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine because there were six people who suffered a blood clot issue a week or more after receiving the dose. Of those six, one person died.

This is on 6.8 million doses, or one in 1.25 million. According to the Center for Disease Control, your chances of being hit by lightning are one in 500,000. In short, you are two and a half times more likely to get hit by a thunderbolt from the heavens than to have a potential blood clot issue. I should mention, the vaccine is not proven yet to cause a blood clot issue.

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The odds become even longer if you are a man or in certain age demographics.

Canada, which has 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the way is now on high alert and investigating the situation.

We should absolutely be taking precautions but let’s not lose sight of the big picture or the context with which these issues are arising.

The trickle-down is these extremely rare clots are causing massive issues with vaccine hesitancy.

On Monday, Angus Reid released a poll that showed only 41% of Canadians had confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine after a similar scare which had indicated 86 total cases of thrombosis as of March 22 on 25 million doses.

Many who otherwise would get a vaccine would turn down the AstraZeneca brand.

These people, however, have missed the memo that AstraZeneca has been 100% successful in preventing death or severe outcomes from COVID-19, to go along with a 79% efficacy rate.

Let’s dig into some more stats here.

There have been roughly 137 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide — including the new variants — with 2.95 million deaths. That’s a death rate of 2.13% or about one in 50. Your chance of ending up in the hospital or with other severe outcomes is even higher.

These stats are no joke.

Every level of government and health organization has pointed to a successful vaccination program as being critical to our return to any form of normalcy. This has been punctuated by waves of lockdowns with each wave of COVID-19 that sweeps across the country. Alberta and Ontario last week announced their new measures, Saskatchewan announced their own on Tuesday and Manitoba has adjustments to the current and sustained Red level of caution that has been in place for six months coming sometime this week.

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We are not going to health order our way through this pandemic. We have proven that over the last 14 months. In fact the longer they are in place the less buy-in there is.

This underscores the complete failure of the vaccination program at a federal level. Even if every drop of vaccine that had been procured was in the arms of Manitobans, and Canadians in general, we would still be a long way from being able to lean on any kind of herd immunity. We are that far behind in this race and on an international level.

What we cannot afford right now is to let fear run rampant in the vaccination program that will scare off more people getting their shot when it is their turn.

We need far more representation of the context when an issue arises within the vaccine program as opposed to going full blast on ultra-rare side effects.

I’ll put it this way, if you don’t want your vaccination, I will gladly take your freedom juice.

jaldrich@postmedia.com

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