By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asia Weekly
Sean Li Cheah comes from a medical professional family, and she has been surrounded by science and medical practice all her life.
Despite this, she chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I believe in science,” Xie said. “But because our body can produce antibodies, I believe my natural antibodies are more reliable than any antibodies in artificial vaccines.”
Cheah is one of many people who question or oppose vaccines locally and across the country. Although their reasons are different and they are all very personal, this group is becoming more and more outspoken about their hesitation or opposition.
Joshua Liao, a physician and behavioral scientist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said: “The idea of why other people have not been vaccinated and written off can easily be oversimplified and disintegrated.”
He said that vaccination issues are usually more complex and are affected by specific factors such as individual communities and preferences. Information dissemination — such as where you read your news, someone sharing views on local or national missions, or news articles sent to you — can also play an important role in determining someone’s vaccination position.
“There are many reasons why people are not vaccinated,” Liao said. “Not all reasons for not being vaccinated involve hesitation. This is how we spread information [about vaccines] This is very important. The hesitation is not necessarily due to misinformation, but more about how we interpret the data in terms of the communities, resources, or environment around us. “
He said that vaccine hesitation is more about perception obstacles caused by personal thoughts.
“[A position of hesitancy] It’s a gray area, which is different from those who have been vaccinated, and even those who have never been vaccinated, because they think they are immune and healthy,” he said.
“We hear people say,’I have to wait until it is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get it.’ I don’t think there is that hesitation. This is the posture of those who plan to vaccinate when they think it is right for them. .”
Vaccine conversations between family and friends
According to Liao’s experience, if people know or see that someone in their social circle is vaccinated, it will have a distinctiveness that would not exist if people didn’t talk about it.
“If these conversations do not occur in their social circles, but only heard in the news or official channels, it would be a big damage,” Liao said. “We need to encourage people to talk about their personal experiences in their communities and natural environments.”
“If people are vaccinated, they should make it concrete in the conversation,” Liao said.
Cheah is 41 years old and lives in Olympia. There are vaccinated and unvaccinated people in her circle. Some people are asked to make it a prerequisite for work, while other family members and friends choose not to do so, and prefer to rely on their natural antibodies to fight the virus, like Cheah, after contracting the virus. Cheah also had family and friends who tested positive for COVID but recovered without problems.
Regardless of their vaccination status, Xie did not feel the pressure from her network. People who have been vaccinated in her life have not affected her to reconsider vaccinations.
However, she did feel the indirect pressure from the country and the wider community. Although Cheah doesn’t work — she is a full-time mother, and her hobby is to teach piano — and admits that she did not face the same vaccination requirements that some employers require, the requirement to wear a mask indoors still violates her personal freedom. The demands of social gatherings also limit her ability to connect with friends, making her feel trapped in what she can and cannot do freely.
“I’m worried about being’caught’,” she said of not wearing a mask under certain circumstances. “This is the wrong worry. I want to go out without a mask to play with my friends.”
Assess the advantages and disadvantages
Liao admitted that having an intimate conversation is not a panacea for vaccine hesitation or awareness issues.
“I believe this has always been a multi-pronged approach,” he said. Talking to your circle about vaccination is a key component, but we need a range of solutions to encourage vaccination.
For many people, news and media play a pivotal role in pushing people in certain directions.
Cheah believes that the media should pay more attention to calming the public.
“Why aren’t there more media reports on people who have recovered from the virus?” Xie said.
She said that in addition to advocating how people stay healthy and build a strong immune system, the media should also emphasize those who successfully fight the coronavirus with natural antibodies, rather than spreading fear-she believes this is a basic strategy to help people fight the virus. nature.
Even though the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine, Xie expressed concern about the potential side effects.
“No, due to side effects such as heart inflammation, pericarditis, myocarditis, and death, I am not ready to get the vaccine. For me, the side effects of the vaccine are greater than those of COVID-19.” She also expressed doubts about Scott Gottlieb’s role. ——Former FDA commissioner, now a member of Pfizer’s board of directors.
Speaking of risks, Liao said that people should strive to make appropriate comparisons.
“Every time we make a decision, we are always creating a reference point,” he said.
He said: “Vaccination does not completely protect someone from COVID infection-even someone who has been vaccinated can get infected.” “But when you add the risks and negatives of COVID and the risks and negatives of the vaccine together Hour, [and the protection that vaccines confer,] Obviously what is a better choice. “
“The problem is that people don’t make this comparison [using that reference point] Nonetheless-people always compare risks with their current situation. They are not comparing negative and negative. On the contrary, some people compare the positive factors of not being vaccinated with the negative factors of not being vaccinated. “
“Wrong comparisons can lead to hesitation,” he said.
Vivian Nguyen can be reached [email protected].
This health series is funded by the Washington Department of Health, which has no editorial opinions or supervision of this content.