Knowledge jabs my Hesitancy

artists rendition

Yesterday one of my favorite newsmen rolled his eyes and said something along the lines of,

“More than 50% of Americans are vaccine hesitate, if you can believe that.” (Yes, that was you, my blue-eyed AC.)

He couldn’t understand why.

I do.

I got news for you, Mr. Smartypants News Commentator: Not everyone who is hesitant is a conspiracy theory follower. Some of us are people who worked in the industry, follow FDA guidance, and know the approval process. Some of us even trained people on the history of the approval process and why it’s important. Some of us know the difference between Approved and Authorized for Emergency Use.

I’m not an antivaxxer. I know vaccines don’t cause autism. I feel confident Bill Gates has no interest in tracking me. (uhhh… Boring.)

I am on the waiting list for a vaccine. I’ll be rolling up my sleeve and getting the jab. Because the risks of NOT getting the vaccine seem to be greater than getting it.


I am hestitant. Bells Palsy, heart attacks, anaphylactic shock? How likely are serious side effects?

So, I decided to jump on the FDA website and look up the progress of the vaccine trials. I wanted to give my emotional self an analytical reality check. I wanted to make sure that public pressure didn’t sway my judgement.

Here’s what I found.

The data from Phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical studies for the Moderna vaccine gives me great confidence.

More than 30,000 people are part of that study. The data indicate that the vaccine is 94% effective. Before Approval, participants will be followed for 2 years. These studies are still ongoing. To read the EUA letter, please click here.

In order to be considered ill from COVID-19, a study individual met these criteria:

  • Positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR* (test result) plus:
  • At least TWO of these symptoms: Fever (100.4 degrees F), chills, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new olfactory and taste disorder(s), or
  • At least ONE of these symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, OR clinical or
  • radiographical evidence of pneumonia

About 57% of those who did NOT get the vaccine (placebo group) met the criteria for COVID-19. Only 3% of those who got the vaccine met the same criteria.

There were four deaths in the group that got the vaccine, and four deaths in the group who got the placebo. Three people got Bell’s palsy type symptoms, one of those was it the placebo group. Thirteen women got pregnant during the study, about half in the vaccine group and half in the placebo group. Obviously, any adverse effects are yet unknown for these babies.

The data for Pfizer’s vaccine gives me similar confidence.

Pfizer’s studies had about 40,000 people in their studies and it shows about 95% effective.

Pfizer’s requirements for a COVID-19 illness are slightly different than than Moderna:

  • Positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR within 4 days of symptomatic period plus at least one of the following symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • New or increased cough
  • New or increased shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New or increased muscle pain

The Pfizer study resulted in four cases of Bell’s palsy, all in people who had the vaccine, none in the placebo group. Six people died due to heart attacks (2 had the vaccine, and 4 had the placebo.) Twelve people had appendicitis (8 had the vaccine and 4 had the placebo.) One person who had the vaccine developed a shoulder injury. Twenty-three women got pregnant during the study, about half in each group. Again, any adverse effects for the babies are unknown.

medicine for coronavirus in ampoule near syringe on geometrical figures
Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova on

Ahh… I feel better. Not every fear dissolved, but yes, I’m rolling up my sleeve.

While I did my research for this post, CoCo got signed up through her employer. She’s way more extroverted than me, she loves to shop, and she is an essential worker. She had COVID-19 last February. She had a fever over 100.4F for SEVEN WEEKS. That was considered a mild case. But chances are high that any antibodies she had are now long gone.

I remain hesitant. Still, as the virus is allowed to spread, it mutates. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. Yes, even if we don’t know all the long term effects yet. After all, we don’t know the long term effects of COVID-19 either, but it doesn’t look good.

Besides, until we get this virus, SARS-CoV2, under control around the world, we are still all at risk. I can help myself and help my global neighbors by getting vaccinated.

I’ll do my part and roll up my sleeve. Get the jab. It’s patriotic.