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Antivaxxers

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Returning volunteer writer Ada Ughanwa discusses those known as ‘anti-vaxxers’ and whether or not they should take it in order to help our exit from the pandemic. 

‘Anti-vaxxers’ are those who express a hint of doubt or share a slight scepticism towards the vaccine. As a result, they have been labelled as being the ‘opposition’ for the coronavirus vaccine roll out. 

‘Anti-vaxxers’ are concerned about the quick turnaround of the vaccine and the possible side effects it may have. Given the nature in which the vaccine was created, is it quite normal for there to be concerns such as its development and roll out to the public within under a year. 

Normal vaccine protocols consist of various trials within humans and sometimes within animals. Once these initial trials have been conducted and the evidence produced from the trials has been peer reviewed, the vaccine can then begin to be rolled out to the wider public. In total, the whole process from formulating a vaccine to vaccinated humans often takes several years.  

Scepticism could stem from a vaccination scare that made many question the safety of vaccines dating back to 1998. In 1998, a former medical doctor, Andrew Wakefield wrongly associated MMR vaccinations with autism in his early medical research. This research was then published in the Lancet, a reputable medical journal before being retracted due to major flaws found in his study in 2004. The Lancet were very slow to remove Wakefield’s work from their journal, and so his study resulted in distrust towards vaccines which are still having an effect twenty years on from the scandal. Those who read or heard about his research at the time immediately associated vaccines with risk, and so many are wary of vaccines and or completely oppose medical procedure altogether. 

If the error that was made on Wakefield’s and the Lancet’s part remains till today, what makes people think that a vaccine that was formulated in less than a year is safe, effective and without harmful side effects? 

People want to be reassured that the vaccine is safe and poses minimal harm to humans, so many people are refusing to take it until more conclusive evidence shows its possible side effects. Those who politely refuse to take the vaccine should have their opinions and human rights respected as we live in a country that advocates freedom of speech and choice. 

Although some people wish not to take the vaccine for one reason or another, their refusal to take the vaccine is being seen as an outright rejection towards the progress that is being made to exit from the pandemic. Many media outlets are belittling those who refuse to take the vaccine, instead of adopting empathy and trying to gently encourage them to take it for the sake of going back to ‘normality’ – or ‘new normal’ as it’s often called. 

I understand society’s concerns about those who do not want to take the vaccine as, in one sense they are preventing us from progressing out of the pandemic. However, we as a country take pride in our human rights laws so, surely if a minority politely refuse to take a vaccine, their opinion should be respected, right? 

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Edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor

Header designed by Christos Alamaniotis – Head of Design

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