Fired Up!

FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine leaves many to question anti-vaxxer intent.

Eager to return to some sense of normalcy, thousands rushed to get any COVID-19 vaccines available starting December 2020, after being cleared by the Federal Drug Administration for emergency use. Nearly eight months later, on Aug. 23, the FDA officially cleared the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty, for anyone 16 or older. 

The response to the vaccination approval has resulted in mixed reactions across social media, with many venting their frustration at anti-vaxxers who still refuse to get Comirnaty. The irritation is understandable, as the lack of FDA approval was supposedly a huge barrier. But since the majority of states refused to mandate masks, it should not be a surprise that vaccine approval has not turned the tide. 

While worrying about future health is understandable, the biggest risk to personal well-being lies not in the vaccine, but the threat of new variants. When a virus spreads through a partly vaccinated population, the weaker COVID-19 variants are repressed, while the stronger variants  survive long enough to continue their rapid spread. 

Additionally, these highly transmissible variants put a lot of major school events at risk. Sure, it may not be a big deal to get what will feel like just a cold to most teenagers, but imagine the uproar if football games, pep rallies, or homecoming were cancelled. Although not a guarantee, vaccines are very likely to prevent such casualties. Moreover, while the symptoms of COVID-19 may not be as severe for teenagers now, future strands spread through anti-vaxxers could potentially make the virus more difficult for young people, potentially turning this year into a repeat of the last.

While personal agency in medical choices are important, putting the lives of others at risk just to further a political agenda is perhaps one of the greatest instances of political bias in the modern era. While hesitation when the vaccine first came out is more understandable, the confirmed safety of Comirnaty by the organization designed to keep Americans safe shows that current refusal is less about being fearful than it is about making a statement. In a period of political and economic instability, the last thing any country needs is more death and division.