NOTICE | Dan Israel: Getting your Covid-19 jab is a duty, not a right

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The author writes that the real test for Covid-19 is to see beyond your own immediate protection. (Image: Getty)

You are not alone, whether you are still in doubt about getting the vaccine or not. You also have the right to ask questions. But vaccinations against Covid-19 are not about rights. They concern above all a deep responsibility and a personal duty towards society as a whole, writes family doctor Dr. Dan Israel.


The recent drop in cases of Covid-19 infections looks like loosening a noose around the necks of my colleagues and myself, and although we are still diagnosing new cases on a daily basis, the fear of a further increase exponential has attenuated.

As we begin to sigh the first breaths of relief, our attention began to venture to the prospect of a fourth wave, which as professionals we might not mentally survive.

When my mind wandered through these overwhelming thoughts, I was instantly reassured that we now have a vaccine for Covid-19. It is our golden armor in this disastrous pandemic and the most effective tool we have to resume normal life.

Still, I’m intrigued by the number of people I still see on a daily basis who are really undecided as to whether or not they will sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine. Some cite well-thought-out arguments that dissuade them from signing up for vaccination. Others have indeed signed up, but an emotional barrier with grassroots fear prevents them from taking the plunge.

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To date, no scientifically sound data has called into question any of the readily available vaccines. When I am asked a question like “Is it worth the risk of having a Covid-19 vaccine if it can cause blood clots or infertility?” “, My logical answer is almost always with the counter-question:” Have you taken into account the risks of Covid-19 pneumonia or of being a vector of Covid-19 pneumonia in someone else? Have you weighed these risks against your vaccine risk? “Life is full of everyday risks, and we navigate the best balance of these risks in our daily routines. For example, we would not accept the risk of getting depriving food against the risk of crossing a busy road to retrieve food, even if both dangers are real The same logic must be employed here.

The five c

Six months after the global deployment of the vaccine, just under four billion doses have been administered. This sample size certainly makes it possible to quantify the risks. One in 100,000 Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca recipients has developed a bleeding disorder called thrombocytopenia. The occurrence of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) in Pfizer patients has been estimated to be approximately one in a million. These numbers are statistically so insignificant, it’s almost more responsible not to mention them at all, in my opinion. The risk of anxiety complications caused by their discussion alone may be greater than the initial risks themselves.

So why do we still struggle to convince a significant proportion of the wider community to get the jab? German psychologist Professor Cornelia Betsch suggested five Cs as factors that profoundly affect vaccination. All of these are important here.

Confidence: Trust the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, and trust the people who deploy them. We are making great strides here, especially with community and religious organizations that are now opening vaccination centers. We need to produce more hard-copy vaccine safety reading material in different languages ​​and less depend on digital education alone.

Complacency: If the disease is considered a serious risk. The third wave and its devastation changed most of the minds here. We need to focus on the fact that healthy young people can become seriously ill too.

Calculation: Weigh the costs and benefits. We must encourage those who are reluctant to get vaccinated to do this exercise themselves. The risks of complications from Covid-19 are significant. The risks of vaccines are, at most, minimal.

Constraints: Availability and ease. Justifiable or not, we have failed here. However, South Africa can be proud of its catching up and the current availability of its stocks.

Collective responsibility: The desire to protect others from infection through one’s own vaccination. I will focus the rest of the article on this responsibility.

Covid-19 has taught us the important lesson that we are responsible for each other. This ranges from the responsibility of notifying contacts if your test is positive, to the responsibility of supporting those infected with medication to prevent them from infecting others, to the responsibility of emotional support to bereaved families, so far. , the biggest commitment to get vaccinated. This is your most important moment of responsibility to others in Covid-19, even if you think you are taking the ‘vaccine risk’.

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It is so clear to me that the only way out of this pandemic is for us to stop defining our lives of Covid-19 as individuals and accept the responsibility of being a member of a community. We must live up to our duty to protect others.

Getting vaccinated to protect others shouldn’t be seen as a simple act of altruism. In fact, it is the only way to rebuild our community life and develop the immunity of the population. Ironically, this focus on others will allow us as individuals to resume our own social interactions and a normal way of life. The real test for Covid-19 is to see beyond your own immediate protection.

Whether you are still hesitating whether or not to get the vaccine, you are not alone. You have every right to ask questions. But vaccinations against Covid-19 are not about rights. It is above all a deep responsibility and a personal duty to society as a whole.

No formidable soldier has stood at the forefront of a battlefield with concern for their rights. You have an obligation to go there now and do your duty. Otherwise, you may want to consider “staying home and saving lives” for the rest of your life.

– Dr Daniel Israel is a family doctor in Johannesburg.

This article was originally published in the South African Jewish Report. Find the original article here.

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