The scientific study of disease management and infection control has certainly come a long way. Effective vaccines exist for many diseases, including polio and measles. A more tolerable vaccine for smallpox has also been developed.
Some early vaccines were discovered by accident. The word “vaccination” has a Latin origin in which “vacca” means “cow.” Dr. Edward Jenner noticed that cowpox (much less severe than smallpox) caused milkmaids at the time to be immune to smallpox, which was much more deadly. This finding lead him to use the cowpox material in the vaccine.
Thomas Jefferson was an advocate for getting vaccinated and responded to Dr. Jenner’s report with this remark: “Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to its efficacy, I took an early part in recommending it [the vaccine] to my countrymen.” In those days, this statement could have great power to convince the American public to roll up their sleeves. Vaccines have virtually eradicated some of these horrible diseases that caused daily restrictions and great loss of life.
It makes good sense for our kūpuna to get the vaccine as soon as possible. With everything we know about the history of vaccine development, there should be acceptance and cooperation from our kūpuna. The option of contracting the virus is less appealing than getting the shot (or series of shots). Talking to your loved ones now can help prepare them to accept the vaccine. Set a date and make the appointments. If it helps to have medical professionals discuss this with them, since trust lies within that relationship, then connect them with their healthcare provider.
The eradication of diseases has been accomplished before. The trust of the population is required before this can happen. First, we must hear that the vaccine has been proven safe by a stringent approval process. Douglas Kriner, a professor of government at Cornell University, said, “The rollout of the vaccine and the public health effort to communicate to people the importance of doing this, that it’s safe and effective and trying to encourage people to vaccinate, should really be left to the public health professionals.”
Since over 31 million people follow anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, it is apparent that we have a challenge in order to get at least 80 percent of the population vaccinated, which is what it will take to end COVID-19.
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