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Vaccine Public Relations Don't Help

We all get that our government wants all of us to take the COVID vaccines. However, because of the government's poor management of the vaccination public relations efforts, many folks from all walks of life have been turned against the vaccines.

My focus here is NOT to support either position with respect to the vaccinations: I care not if you take the "jab". I do care, however, that you work through the decision with good information -- which is hard to piece together from the government's efforts.

Let's start with the imagery that is most prominent in media coverage: A close-up of a syringe needle sinking into someone's arm. This image is often accompanied by a close-up of the recipient's face -- surprisingly peaceful.

But then there are the faces that are not so peaceful, such as a child wincing or an elderly woman contorting her face in pain as the needle punctures her flesh.

Either way, to make so concrete what "vaccination" means to a public riddled with individuals -- including physicians -- who are terrified of needles cannot by defended.

Now for the the science. From the first announcement of the vaccines, the government has used the terms "vaccination" and "herd immunity" carelessly - but carelessly in a way that persuades to take the shot.

Americans with children and the elderly are very familiar with vaccinations: It's a shot taken usually once a year to protect the recipient from a particular disease.

This is not how the COVID vaccinations work. They moderate how sick the virus makes its recipients. Think of it as a sort of cold medicine such as Tylenol products. Also, they appear to lessen how readily the virus spreads, but the details are not clear.

But many recipients think if they take the shot they can visit family without fear of spreading the disease.

Many have been led to believe by the media campaigns that if enough people get the shot, "herd immunity" will kick in and we can vanquish COVID forever. President Biden appears to be speaking from this perspective when he angrily blames the folks who have not taken the shot for the slow progress in his battle against COVID. In order for herd immunity to work, a huge number of people must become immune to COVID - the virus must "die" within them.

But this vaccination does not kill the virus. The only benefit in favor of a sort of herd immunity is lower speed of spread which , as we have seen, is not necessarily a benefit.

Many Americans, maybe one-third, entertain the complaint that the vaccine was developed too fast to consider it safe. Our government and the involved drug companies counter with the fact that many have had the shot and not suffered serious consequences. But the public does have a point because there is no real long-term, longitudinal data which could reveal linkages between the shot and a host of diseases and conditions such as those arising from auto-immune malfunctions or brain deterioration. Presently many pregnant women may be the largest group of American who avoid the vaccination for fear of physical consequences they seek to avoid.

Much of the media coverage hands some vaccination hold-backs another reason: a sense of urgency about taking the shot with incessant news stories about horrible, lonely deaths from COVID. This fuels the paranoia in some for a variety of reasons that are founded on thoughts of nefarious goals, such as hidden chips. Why else would the vaccination be so important?

New public service announcements push our population as well with fear toward the shots with fear by feeding off of parents' compulsion to protect their children with an unabashed emotional ditty.

Also fueling fear and confusion are the "big-word" communication habits of the Centers for Disease Control of the National Institutes of Health. Give them a few sentences and they will surely lapse into technical terms that the average American cannot understand.

Finally, there is a significant fear among the public that the vaccination may include some sort of chip or tag. If that is your fear, than buy only test kits that are not sent to a third party for processing, because you will be sending such third party a DNA sample and whatever identification information that is required.

If on the other hand you fear the shots for other reasons such as there being no longitudinal data to support vaccination safety, then protect yourself and loved ones with masks and social distancing. Unlike the vaccination, such measures can protect against catching COVID.

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