- We continue to receive better news on how COVID vaccines will get us back to normal.
- But public health messages continue to underestimate how quickly the vaccine will change our lives.
- People won’t have to wait until Christmas to behave normally.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
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We continue to receive better news about COVID vaccines, but the public message we hear from officials remains eerily cautious.
Every day it seems there is a new positive finding about the effects of vaccines. Data from Israel – which has progressed faster than any country in the world to vaccinate its population – suggests the vaccine has been very effective in stopping the spread of the virus, not just stopping symptomatic illness. This is in addition to other studies which have found significant reductions in infection even after partial vaccination cycles, and of course which have found extremely high efficacy in preventing serious illness and death.
But at the same time, the messages from executives and the media are strangely pessimistic. Both Dr Anthony Fauci and President Joe Biden are aiming this Christmas as a time when things could get close to normal, although vaccines will be available to anyone who wants one about six months sooner. Much of the vaccine media coverage focuses on a strange idea that you should not change your behavior even after receiving a vaccine this greatly reduces your risk of contracting COVID, becoming seriously ill with COVID, or passing the virus that causes COVID on to others.
On the other hand, a lot of things are already “normal”, despite a still deadly virus. Across the country, many people are already doing the things we look forward to, like eating inside and sending their children to school in person. As the risk associated with COVID drops sharply, this normalcy will only intensify, even as government officials say it is not yet time to be normal.
You are already ignoring CDC and government health experts
One thing that’s normal, like reporter Matt Yglesias noted on Twitterit is up to the government to issue overly cautious health advice and the public to ignore such advice. The CDC tells Americans to cook our well-done burgers and eggs until the yolks are solidified. He tells us to use dental dams for oral sex. You don’t need permission from the CDC to hug your vaccinated grandparent, nor do you need to make it easier to eat eggs.
So a silver lining to the bad advice that under-sells the vaccine’s benefits is that many of the public will surely ignore it.
But I’m worried that the underselling will affect people’s willingness to get vaccinated. While our vaccine post is heavily focused on what it claims habit do for you, and claims people will have to keep doing all the boring things they are doing now, why wouldn’t that make a lot of people hesitate to get the vaccine?
COVID will probably never go away entirely, and people who do not get vaccinated will remain at risk even after the public’s willingness to comply with the restrictions evaporates due to widespread vaccination among those most concerned about the disease. disease and therefore the most willing to change. their behaviour. Since COVID is likely to be rampant, we want as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
As such, it would be good to see more political figures highlighting how vaccines will bring an imminent return to normalcy instead of under-promising and under-selling. Vaccines are a very good thing that will not only save lives, but make many activities safe again, and people should know that.