Consider again the COVID-19 vaccine
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Benjamin Franklin was one of our greatest founding fathers whose written works helped form the constitution of the United States as ratified in 1781. He was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, America’s governing body before the War of Independence. He was part of the five-member committee that helped draft our Declaration of Independence. More than 200 years after his death in 1790, Franklin remains one of the most celebrated figures in U.S. history. His image appears on the $100 bill, and towns, schools, and businesses across America are named for him.
You may not know that Benjamin Franklin was initially suspicious of these “new things” called vaccines. Enter Smallpox, a virus that is all but eradicated because of vaccines. Most people with Smallpox recovered, but about 3 out of every 10 people with the disease died. Many smallpox survivors had permanent scars over large areas of their bodies, especially their faces; others were left blind.
Unfortunately for Benjamin Franklin, he chose not to vaccinate his son, who died in 1736. Quoting straight from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, he writes:
“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the Smallpox taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of the parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
Benjamin Franklin regretted that decision for the rest of his life.
Personal decisions in medicine would be easy if they consisted of a pure black and white choice: take treatment and you will live; don’t and you will die. Just like now with the Delta Variant of COVID, that choice certainly is not black and white.
But what do we know?
- We know that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to get sick, compared to those who are unvaccinated.
- We know that those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine but have a “breakthrough” case of the Delta variant are more likely to have a mild case of COVID, a reduced chance of hospitalization, and smaller chance of death, compared to those without a vaccine.
- We know that those who are unvaccinated and get sick are more likely to develop complications and be at risk of death.
- We know that the vaccine is safe and seems to do what it was intended to do effectively. This has been further validated with full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
If there was no risk of COVID, then “do nothing” made sense. Inoculation became an appropriate option when the COVID vaccine became available.
Receiving the COVID vaccine is the best option for reducing the likelihood of getting sick with COVID-19 and suffering short- and long-term effects, or death. Take a page from Ben Franklin, and do not be sorry later and regret something simple you can do today. For your family, loved ones, and friends, please consider getting a COVID vaccine today.
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