To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate; That is the Question
by Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor
This, it would seem, is the question of our time. This question is one which swirls with concerns about science, public health, politics, legality, and emotion. Let me begin by telling you that I am not going to make a particular recommendation to you, or suggest that you either do, or do not, vaccinate yourself or your family. Rather, I would like to share some thoughts with you to help you make your own determination on the matter.
In the early days of the pandemic, when we were dealing with earlier iterations (variants) of the virus, it was more clear to me that there were multiple compelling reasons for all of us to get vaccinated. There was a time when doing so, to all appearances and known science, not only protected the vaccinated person from acquiring severe disease requiring hospitalization and dying, but also prevented the spread of the virus. With the emergence of the Delta variant, the calculus has changed. From what I have read and experienced about this most recent version of COVID-19, it is now possible and, in fact, quite likely, for a person, though vaccinated, to become infected and transmit the virus to others. The original argument, therefore, that all of us should get vaccinated in order to prevent transmission, and further mutation of the virus, no longer really holds water. As a case in point, I personally know of at least 10 people who recently tested positive for COVID, even though they were vaccinated. This type of infection is what is known as “breakthrough” infection. The CDC stopped collecting data and reporting on the incidence of breakthrough infections in May, 2021 (don’t ask me why). Therefore, we really have no idea how prevalent this phenomenon is. I can just tell you that my personal experience indicates that it is far more common than is being reported.
Where, then, does this leave us? What I think is indisputable is that the vaccine (all of the vaccines that are currently available) does prevent the vast majority of people from becoming severely ill, requiring hospitalization, and dying. Just in case you question the veracity of what I’m saying, and wonder at my source of information, I will tell you that I recently had a conversation with an ICU doctor at one of our local hospitals. He reported to me that his ICU was inundated with COVID patients. This conversation took place no more than three weeks ago. When I asked him what percentage of those in the ICU were unvaccinated, he replied that the unvaccinated accounted for 93% of their ICU admissions. The other 7% were people with significant co-morbidities (emphysema, lung cancer, immunosuppression, etc.). What this reinforces in my mind, and what I hear reported in the media, is that the vaccine is serving a very useful purpose, and it is preventing people from becoming severely ill.
I think each of us has to look at our own personal circumstances, our priorities, and the people who surround us, and determine whether getting vaccinated provides significant protection for you and perhaps for others. To be fair, there are reported instances of adverse reactions to vaccines. Some people experience minor adverse reactions while a very small minority can have significant complications. There is a risk to getting a vaccine, any vaccine. There is also a significant risk associated with contracting COVID-19. From everything that I have seen, the vaccine is relatively safe in comparison to the risks of developing COVID, but the balance of those risks depends on your particular circumstances.
For example, if you are older, or in ill health, or have a known health condition that would predispose you to developing severe illness if you contract COVID-19, then you should probably get vaccinated. In addition, even though you might be young and in good health, and therefore have a low probability of developing severe illness if you contract COVID, but you live with or are in close association with someone who has compromised immunity, then you should also get vaccinated. People may have compromised immunity because their immune system may not be working very well because of general ill health, or they may have just completed chemotherapy, or be taking immunosuppressant drugs. Under such circumstances, even when vaccinated, these people may not develop sufficient immunity to COVID to prevent severe disease. Under such circumstances, it is essential that those around them do everything possible to provide a buffer.
On the flipside of the coin, if you are young, healthy, and therefore have a relatively low probability of developing severe illness if you contract COVID, then you might well choose to go unvaccinated. It is simply a matter of balancing the various risks.
Of course, there are practical reasons for getting vaccinated too. Since the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, we are now seeing more vaccine mandates going into effect in governmental institutions and even private businesses. It may well be that if you wish to fly, go to a Broadway show, or work in a particular company, then you might be required to get vaccinated, even if doing so does little to prevent transmission.
Vaccines are not yet approved for children under the ages of 12 and, when they are, that will raise a whole other set of issues. For the present, I suggest you look at your own personal circumstances and make a decision that meets the needs of you, your family, and friends. The doctors at Chiropractic Health and Wellness are here to help you, without judgment, arrive at a decision that promotes the highest level of survival for you and those you love. Do not hesitate to pull any of us aside and ask for help or feedback.