Experts concerned as fewer get vaccinated

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Pharmaceutical companies have fast-tracked a coronavirus vaccine and are awaiting approval to distribute it, but even then, some parents said they won’t get it for themselves or their children, which is alarming to public health leaders.

No one in the Atwood family will be getting the shot.

“No,” said Rachel Atwood, an anti-vaccination parent. “Zero chance.”

Atwood said she’s especially not vaccinating her daughter and son, who has autism, because of the potential side effects she said it could have on them.

“Is it really going to work? I don’t know, but if it does work, what are going to be the long-term effects,” Atwood said. “There’s no way of knowing because it’s so new.”

Moderna and Pfizer are awaiting the FDA’s approval for their coronavirus vaccine. NBC News reported the companies said their recent trials show their vaccines are both more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. Moderna added that their vaccine is “100 percent effective” at preventing severe cases of the virus.

“The FDA does a lot of things I don’t approve of, so their label does not bring me any comfort or confidence,” Atwood said.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine both use what’s called synthetic messenger RNA, or mRNA. Scientists reportedly use the molecule to trigger the immune system to produce protective antibodies without using any part of the coronavirus.

According to NBC News, a vaccine of this kind is under scrutiny because it’s never been widely distributed before.

“We threw a lot of companies, a lot of time and a lot of money at one vaccine, which allowed us to develop it quickly, so we want to assure people no safety was compromised,” said Mary Wisinski, nurse and immunization program supervisor for the Kent County Health Department.

In general, the Kent County Health Department said they’ve even seen a reduction in the number of children and adults getting available vaccines since the outbreak began. Officials want that to change and can only hope the trend doesn’t continue when a coronavirus vaccine hits the market.

“We need enough of the population to be immunized in order to get to herd immunity,” Wisinski said.

According to NBC News, a Pew Research Center poll published in September found a sharp decline from May to September in the number people who said they would get the vaccine if it were immediately available.

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