The Delta Spike

Mississippi has run out of Intensive Care Unit beds. Arkansas had only 8 available. Neighboring states are no better off. Incredulity has replaced the optimism I felt after C19 vaccines became available. Why must we continue to deal with this scourge?

COVID-19 vaccines are free.

COVID-19 vaccines pose no statistically significant health risks to healthy people.

Yet barely a third of all Mississippians are fully vaccinated. Help me understand why people have been hesitant to get these shots, and how public policymakers should address the issue.

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18 Responses to The Delta Spike

  1. Gordon Welch says:

    We are in a very strange day and age when people will trust a random Instagram post before researching information on their own. The Covid-19 vaccine has been put through hundreds of tests and has found no major concerns, but people are more willing to listen to someone lie on social media.

  2. Sawyer Levenson says:

    Humans are a very stubborn and self-absorbed species. I believe that most of the individuals who are not vaccinated are either selfish, don’t do their own research and trust everything they read, or they just can’t get it medically. I am fine with people who, medically, can’t get it. However, the individuals who just refuse to take it, are only worried about themselves and don’t think about other people. I don’t think that policymakers will be able to do anything to fight this because then they won’t get re-elected (people would see this as imposing on their rights), and that would be bad for them, these people care more about their power than the people they were elected to serve and protect. The people who are trying to make it so everyone has to get vaccinated, are receiving a lot of backlash and no one is listening to them.

  3. Adi Patel says:

    It is not surprising that people are hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine considering how new it is. However, the effectiveness of the vaccine as well as the positive results of people who have taken the vaccine prove that it is safe, and this is information that public policymakers should consider.

  4. David Johnson says:

    I believe that the lack of vaccination is because of the profusion of fake news on the internet, there are rallies about resisting the vaccination. Because of this people that are inexperienced on the internet are vulnerable to this, after a person is convinced then their biases will make it nigh-impossible to change their opinion. This is why proper education is so important.

  5. Jeremy Dawe says:

    People have been hesitant to get these shots for many reasons, consisting of distrust in the vaccine and companies behind them as well as underestimating the severity of the disease. These attitudes are prominent due to exposure to misinformation and fear-mongering on social media. Active policymakers are combating this spread of
    misinformation on social media, but the most effective means by which vaccination rates will increase is the approval of the Covid-19 vaccine by the FDA.

  6. nicholas popescu says:

    Owing to a growing lack of faith in current government and a heavy Christian influence among many cotton belt states, including Mississippi, thousands of citizens refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19. A stigma against vaccination often deters many Republican voters in Mississippi, a predominantly Republican area. Claims of government tracking and unsafe vaccinations are the focal points of such stigma. Additionally, while not as significant, Christian influence discourages many Mississippians from getting the vaccine by stating that it is against God’s natural will.

  7. Cali Orman says:

    Although data pertaining to the vaccine is openly available to the public, it takes the time and effort to researching for yourself which some do not find necessary. The influx of false information coming from more readily available platforms, such as social media, could also play a large part in skepticism toward the vaccine. Many have the mindset of, “Well its on Facebook, it must be true.” On the other hand, some take the time to research but may find the data available too hard to understand or the numerous sources overwhelming. Policymakers encouraging the public to check their facts and directing them to easily understandable and reliable resources, will find greater success in addressing these issues.

  8. Madison Echols says:

    I don’t think it’s surprising for people to be skeptical about the vaccine. As Sawyer pointed out, humans are prone to negative characteristics, and those in power are no different. We’ve seen in the past how those in power have abused their power at the expense of innocent citizens. So, naturally, there would be at least a little bit of concern surrounding the vaccine.

    My problem is when this skepticism and people’s “rights” and “freedoms” override morality and our duties as citizens to protect our fellow man. I think it is funny how the US’s freedom is one of the most beloved aspects of the country, but the pandemic has exposed flaws in it. We have freedom of belief and choice. Even though I believe in the pandemic and vaccine, have taken the precautions to protect myself and others against it, and feel that those who don’t are ignorant, who can force someone who thinks that it is a hoax to believe in it? No one can force belief execpt themselves. And based on that, some people feel that they don’t have to take the proper precautions, which, unfortunately, ends in the loss of life, money, and time.

    To try and put myself in their shoes, I think of the situation like this. Let’s say it was the general consensus that Santa Claus really existed, and in preparation, everyone was forced to cook cookies and set them out for Santa. I don’t believe in Santa Claus so, even though the rule is that cookies should be out for Mr. Claus, I don’t want to waste cookies, so I don’t cook them. But, of course, the circumstances and stakes are completely different in that scenario compared to taking the vaccine/wearing masks. Because of the higher stakes, one would think that people would take things more seriously even if they didn’t believe in the disease (like wearing masks, getting the vaccine, taking the precautions even if they ignorantly don’t believe in COVID to make their community feel safer or just in case they might be wrong) but sadly that hasn’t happened.

    I don’t have a sure-fire plan on how we could fix this. Because of the internet and social media platforms, you can surround yourself with only people who agree with you and continue digesting false information if you wanted to. As an encouragement to get the vaccine some politicians across the different parties could come together and voice their support for the vaccine. I’m not sure if they’ve already done something like this; I’ve just seen some people blame the opposing party or voice suspicions because of the opposing party. Or maybe instate another mask mandate, or either force people to either show a vaccination card or wear a mask (although vaccination cards might have to be something like paper money with ways to verify it to avoid counterfeit vaccination cards). At this point, I see the United States as a group of kids growing up. You try to let them do things independently with the hopes that they will do the right thing on their own, but when they don’t… you might have to take matters into your own hands to make sure that the right things get done.

  9. Kaylee Hall says:

    Many people like myself are hesitant to take the vaccine due to health reasons. I know my dad refuses to get it because heart conditions and other health problems run in his family as well as in my mom’s. I have an autoimmune disease that hasn’t presented itself yet, and with the vaccine being so new, I wouldn’t risk it. There have been many studies where the vaccine has actually caused people to go down with covid and they ended up still getting it again. There may be good statistics, but I don’t believe it’s something to play with. If taking the vaccine could protect myself completely and others, I totally would. However, if I took the vaccine and still got Covid, I would be considered high risk and would’ve passed it to my grandmother. It’s not necessarily that individuals don’t care about others and only themselves, we value life and inevitably, we are protecting individuals. We’re protecting the ones closest in case of catching it from the vaccine. Not everyone can risk catching a strain of the virus to build their immune system.

    • James Talamo says:

      I can respect you and your fathers decisions not to receive the vaccine, as long as you have done research on the reactions of his and your underlying health conditions to the vaccine. I, however, don’t understand the studies showing that the vaccine has caused people to go down with COVID. The CDC specifically states “that a COVID-19 virus cannot make you sick with COVID-19.” I’d be happy to check these studies out, I just don’t know where to find them

  10. Nicolas Neal says:

    The organization through which many of the “ordinary” citizen’s endeavors occupy their life is the political state in which the citizen resides. This state regulates the behaviors and abilities of the citizen through legality and its enforcement with the standing monopoly of force. Many of those who are in such a system develop distrust for this system as they feel a lack of influence over their own states of being. Constituents of the political state include those that are responsible for the testing and approval of vaccination. The distrust felt towards the state as a whole is also felt towards such constituents, so much so that many choose not to receive the currently offered vaccines. They express their causes for such a choice to be fear of safety from undesired consequences to their health or even from implantations of mind-controlling microchips.
    I would hesitate to make the normative claim that public policymakers should or ought to address the issue by some means; however, as to achieve reduction in vaccine hesitancy, policymakers could encourage vaccination by its authorizing its administration through new and more accessible mediums such as schools and universities. Another means is to legally mandate vaccination against Covid-19, although doing so is unlikely to be successful.

  11. Arika Gardner says:

    The South is very superstitious. So many political theories and unjustified beliefs have influenced the mind of the Mississippians for many years. I have heard some of the most over-the-top theories about the Covid-19 vaccination. No superstition beats facts! People without the vaccination are more at risk of the delta variant than people have the vaccination. Numbers do not lie.

  12. It is natural for people to question the unknown. To be wary of the things involving themselves they have little information about. Mothers can feel protective of their child and consider the vaccine not necessary or dangerous if their child is in good health. The south is very set in their ways, and are suspicious of the vaccine. Not having years of research and being able to see side effects over time, leaves the people to their own ideas and theories. Young, healthy people can often be so selfish and only see how the pandemic affects them. People not at high risk often don’t see Covid-19 as a serious problem. Rumors and theories about this new, unknown vaccine will no doubt spread. Wild things will be said and many will believe them and stay unvaccinated out of fear. These things being said about the vaccine to spread fear and doubt need to be put to a end. Facts about the vaccines safety need to be more openly talked about. Rumors need to be disproved with information. Fear of this pandemic shutting the country down should be spread, not lies about a zombie-producing vaccine.

  13. Lexi Holdiness says:

    COVID-19 is a highly debated topic. There are still people who refuse to believe it’s even real! I feel these are the same people who lower the collective IQ of the planet. The vaccine poses no real threat, especially in comparison to the pandemic. Trauma and death was endured everywhere, and still some people refuse to contribute to the solution- vaccines.
    Vaccines have worked effectively in situations like C19 in the past. Take Polio for example, the vaccine helped stop a relentless outbreak. Furthermore, turn to the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Vaccines are effective and vital in solving harmful outbreaks, like COVID-19.
    If vaccines are so effective and potentially harmless, then why are so few people vaccinated? Mostly, it is the lack of time and research that makes people skeptical. At least that’s the logical answer. The vaccine has been available for less then a year, so it is understandable when people are hesitant to put a foreign substance into their bodies. However, a large portion of the unvaccinated people will find ANY excuse not to get the vaccine. The common myths are that it contains a microchip or that it can lead to infertility. The CDC has debunked the microchip conspiracy several times and can show no evidence that the vaccine leads to infertility. The vaccine poses little threat. People just want to rebel and pretend the government is out to get them.
    The government doesn’t want to make vaccines mandatory, but at times it seems that’s what needs to be done. Private employers and colleges have the ability to make the vaccine mandatory for their establishments, which definitely influences people to get vaccinated. Lawmakers and political leaders should continue to highly influence vaccinations. The CDC should continue to publish research that suggests that the vaccine is safe. As a nation, everyone should make it their personal responsibility to stop the spread.

  14. Dia Kher says:

    People have been hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to the false statistics roaming the internet. The gullibility of the people creates unnecessary rumors about the vaccine (causes sterility, alters DNA, tracks humans, etc.). Policymakers are working on addressing the issue; however, majority of those who are hesitant do not want it because of how short the time period was tested before the vaccine was given out to the public; only FDA approval will aid in the rising of vaccination rate.

  15. Raegan Calvert says:

    I know personally that a family member of mine was quite hesitant to receive the vaccine due to how quickly it was created, and she was very nervous about the side effects. This is one of the common reasons people have against the vaccine, but I think there’s a deeper, more malicious reason behind why people are so intent not to take it.

    Due to a lot of politicized opinions on the virus, as well as a mounting paranoia against the government, many people- especially those of Republican standing- have spread the idea that Covid-19 is not harmful at all, and some even believe that it is fake. Now, despite this opinion having little to no founding, its popularity among red states (a great example being Mississippi) is rising at an alarming speed. This creates an even bigger problem. If people believe that Covid-19 is a complete hoax or that its only as bad as the common flu, what would motivate them to get vaccinated? Not much.

    Policy leaders need to address this situation immediately, but some political officials (one being Marjorie Taylor Green) are encouraging this ideology. They are spreading fear and superstitions. There is not enough encouragement towards the vaccine to counterbalance all the conspiracy theories surrounding it. The people who hold the power to do so need to put a stop to the spread of harmful opinions like these that could take the lives of so many people.

  16. Hong Zheng says:

    I believe the hesitation of the vaccine is due to the powerful internet and humans’ gullible nature. Mississippians, and humans in general, lack faith in nearly everything, always forfeiting to superstitions. Along with our apprehensive nature, the broad and persuasive internet only adds on to our uncertainty. For example, just a simple comment such as,” There are microchips inside the vaccine” can push a sizeable chunk of Mississippians away from getting the vaccine. People’s refusal to get the vaccine cannot be helped. There will always be rumors, and the internet only intensifies that skepticism.

  17. Willem says:

    The people in Mississippi are worried about the long term effects of the covid vaccine, anti-government propaganda about the vaccine, and the vaccine causing autism. Policy makers should address this by putting in perspective how much good outweighs the bad of the vaccine. Vaccines may cause autism but not getting a vaccine will save your loved ones lives.

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