Shared from the 2/4/2021 Gaston Gazette eEdition


Save lives and get the COVID shot


Michael McMahan

Not long ago I wrote about government missteps in getting the COVID-19 vaccination process underway.

The biggest problems seemed then and now to be at the federal level. The state of North Carolina and its local governments are doing well. How well?

I was vaccinated two weeks ago at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia. My appointment was scheduled for 8:40 a.m. I arrived at 8:30 and was back in my car by 9 a.m. That is efficient.

The lady who helped me register said management had turned the administrative process over to the IT department.

That way they knew there would be little “chit-chat” at the registration desks. They were right.

A total of 900 people were getting vaccinated four-days per week at the hospital the week I received my first shot. I understand the health department’s results at the Farmer’s Market are equally efficient, though they have access to less vaccine and can vaccinate just one or two days per week.

If there are problems, it is not at the local level, at least not in Gaston County.

However, there is a big problem with the COVID vaccination, and it is not the effectiveness of the various vaccines. It is vaccine skepticism. There are many people, about one-third of the general population, who refuse to take the shot. This is troubling on many levels. It leaves the vaccination skeptic more vulnerable to contracting a disease that may land them in the hospital or even end their life.

It also exposes the entire community to more people who lack immunity. I watched a television report on Chicago nurses who refuse to be vaccinated.

I also read in the Wall Street Journal that some nursing home staff are refusing to take the vaccination.

Here are three words the managers of these organizations might adopt. “You are fired!” Hospitals and nursing homes must put the interests and safety of their patients and residents ahead of skeptical staff who refuse to be vaccinated.

This seems patently clear to me.

To understand the skepticism, I searched for and found a Texas Tech University article online called “Vaccine skeptics actually think differently than other people” (April 10, 2020). In the article, professors Mark LaCour and Tyler Davis report that their research shows vaccine skeptics tend to overestimate rare events in many of life’s circumstances, not just vaccinations.

Their personalities drive them to accept anecdotal evidence as fact and question experts.

The chances of severe side effects from taking a vaccine are far less than the risk of not obtaining immunity to a potentially deadly disease like COVID-19.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine give a person COVID-19? No. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of vaccine that work in slightly different ways: (1) mRNA vaccines; (2) Protein Subunit vaccines; and, (3) Vector vaccines.

Of these, only the vector vaccines contain a live virus, but not the virus that causes COVID-19. With all three types of vaccines, foreign material that is introduced to the body causes it to build white blood cells that will fight future exposures to the disease.

In other words, vaccines use the body’s amazing immune system to build protection from the COVID-19 virus.

There is little difference in the basic process by which these new vaccines work and the vaccinations we have used for many decades. Vaccines save lives, yours and mine and every person with whom we might come in contact.If you have an opportunity to get one of the COVID vaccines, roll up your sleeve and get it.

Let your body start building immunity to this horrible disease. The life you save may be your own.

Michael McMahan is a resident of Gastonia.

See this article in the e-Edition Here