Back in December, the Pzifer-BioNTech vaccine was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the UK. Back then, it felt that there was light at the end of a dark and long tunnel: it felt like everyone was buzzing to get jabbed and get back to normal.
Nearly 5 months on, and with two more approved vaccines in the UK, the vibe for some has switched to one more of caution than outright positivity. With some time to reflect and a barrage of information from official and unofficial sources being thrown our way, it’s no wonder some of us are feeling on-the-fence about receiving our doses. The island’s vaccine rollout has been impressive, with people in their twenties now receiving the vaccine. In comparison, in England the under 45s are currently being invited to register for their vaccination. For some, being among some of the first young adults to receive the vaccine feels exciting. For others, it may feel a little daunting.
As we weigh up the risks, it is understandable that the under 30s group are going to be a little more cynical about receiving a vaccine. If you are not in a priority group, the risk of a Covid death is very low (people in non-priority groups only make up 1% of Covid deaths). With many of us worried about potential side-effects of the vaccine – such as the highly-reported risk of blood clots, it’s easy to feel like the vaccine is an unnecessary risk.
While there are genuine concerns to be had about receiving the vaccine, it’s also key to remember the risks of Covid, so that you can make a balanced decision. While it is unlikely that you will die of Covid if you’re not in a priority group, Covid can still be pretty nasty in younger people. Covid can also have some long-term effects: whether it be loss or changed taste (a relatively minor symptom in the scheme of things – but for a gal like me who loves food, it’s a scary symptom) or more sinister symptoms, such as constant fatigue. If you’re fit and strong and never really suffered from illness, it’s easy to think that you may have mild or asymptomatic Covid: but it’s certainly not guaranteed.
One of the primary concerns of people my age is the side-effects of the vaccine that we’re seeing in our peers. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about feeling hungover a day or so after the vaccine: with none of the actual fun of drinking. While this will undoubtedly be unpleasant for individuals (who likes being hungover?), it’s worth a note that Covid symptoms can be equally or more unpleasant, and last a lot longer. It’s also worth considering that, because of Manx crab syndrome, we’re more likely to hear stories about bad reactions. We all know that “feel like crap” is going to get more sympathy likes than just “had a jab. Feel fine.”
Another common concern is that the vaccine is new. It definitely feels daunting to take something that hasn’t been around long. However, all the trials that a vaccine or drug would ordinarily undertake have been done: the injection (pardon the pun) of money and resources has allowed the vaccine to skip a lot of waiting around. The scientists weren’t working with a blank slate, either – preexisting vaccine technology and studies in coronaviruses significantly aided the development of the vaccines. Some people feel like waiting on seeing the long-term effect of the vaccine, as it’s something we’re not too sure about. However, preexisting knowledge means that scientists can make informed predictions about the vaccine. While there may not be complete certainty about the long-term impact of a vaccine, there is even less certainty about the long-term impact of Covid.
In our little Manx bubble, where life is relatively normal and Covid cases are low, we may feel like the risk of getting Covid is low enough to justify not receiving the vaccine. Yet, as we learn to live with the virus- opposed to having an elimination strategy, the likelihood of getting the virus will increase. Many of us are looking forward to the borders opening, but this has removed what was once our first line of defence. The vaccine is looking like it will be a key defence in keeping our lives as normal as possible. The vaccine can help prevent or lessen the severity of Covid symptoms, which may be key in protecting our health service. You’re itching to have an off-island holiday, you may want to consider having a vaccine as some countries, such as the UK are looking into introducing Covid passports: in England, trials have begun to assess the ways in which Covid passports can aid the safe return of mass events. If you do decide against a vaccine, a recent negative Covid test or a recent Covid recovery have also been proposed as evidence for your passport.
It’s totally fine to feel unsure about the vaccine- and it is ultimately your decision whether you receive your doses. However, in a world of, to use a Trumpism, fake news, assuring you get your information from credible sources (no, forwarded WhatsApp messages do not count) is vital in ensuring that you make a considered decision. While it may be tempting to ask your mates for advice, ultimately the best person to ask is your doctor, who can assess your medical history and concerns.
Registration is now open for adults in the Isle of Man, click here to register.
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