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Letter to the Editor: Make an informed, responsible decision

To the Editor,

As this pandemic rages on, we find ourselves at a crossroads. I am a scientist with a doctorate and I’ve published 100 papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, so you’d better believe I did my homework before I got a vaccine. I read peer-reviewed journal articles and even investigated the manufacturers. One of my best friends worked for the Food and Drug Administration in China, India and Chile busting companies selling bad generic drugs (check out the New York Times bestseller book Bottle of Lies, which features him). My research found the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and their manufacturing process to be safe.

I have heard many arguments against vaccines, but I want to address a few now. The first is the personal freedom argument: “It’s my choice not to get vaccinated and I simply don’t want to.” The problem with this argument is that an individual’s choice not to get vaccinated influences others around them. Note the Beaufort County Health Department’s figure in Saturday’s paper: 98% of those testing positive for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

The second is the political argument: “No way will I do what this administration wants.” The problem with this argument is that the last administration pumped the resources into developing multiple vaccines. And don’t forget President Trump was first in line to get his in secret this January. Even George Washington vaccinated the Continental Army against smallpox. Be a patriot and get your vaccine.

The third is that COVID vaccines were fast-tracked. This is absolutely true, but fast tracking has nothing to do with safety and efficacy. Think about all the research and development in wartime or the fact that the U.S. put humans on the moon in less than 10 years. Money can fast track a lot of things. The fourth is that we don’t know the long-term effect of these new vaccines. This is partially true, but keep in mind we do know some long-term effects of COVID-19. Scientists have no reason to think any long-term effects will develop and Moderna vaccine trials were initiated over a year ago. No long-term effects yet.

Some folks say they don’t want to be used as a medical experiment. The mRNA technology used in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines was first developed in the 1980s. It’s not novel and millions have been vaccinated following rigorous testing. Those who chose not to be vaccinated and contract COVID are essentially a petri dish for the virus to replicate and mutate into more dangerous variants. In a perverse sense, those who contract COVID (98% unvaccinated in our county) are essentially the medical experiment.

There are many more arguments against vaccinations, but I want to conclude by addressing our personal choices. If you still choose not to be vaccinated, please also choose to wear masks and social distance. Put a mask on your child when you send them to school. Unfortunately, “Dr. Google” is full of a lot of bad information and, of course, many media sources twist information for clicks and likes. Did you know that 12 individuals are responsible for 65% of anti-vaccination information on social media? One of them, Dr. Mercola, has a net worth of $100 million from sales of vitamins (he once claimed that tanning beds prevented cancer and then sold, well, you guessed it, tanning beds).

If you are vaccinated, reach out to your friends and family as a trusted resource and share your experience. The ability to choose burdens us with great responsibility.

Dominic Reisig