I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, especially at such a young age, but as a public health professional I feel obligated to affirm that vaccines are effective for what they're intended to do.

You're correct in arguing that the mainstream media determines 'expert' status based on relevancy and elitism, but the scientific community simply doesn't operate that way. While there may be medical professionals who question basic public health measures, including the COVID-19 vaccines, the overwhelming majority (based on the best available empirical and clinical data) agrees that vaccinations are safe, effective, and ultimately our best opportunity for protecting ourselves and our communities.

Admittedly, I see some obvious ethical issues with mandating vaccines, but I genuinely believe that the interventions we're observing now are the direct result of the broader anti-vaccine movement. It's truly unfortunate that the debate surrounding vaccines has become so politicized, and even more so that companies have leveraged the pandemic as an opportunity for financial gain. But the fact remains that none of those coinciding scenarios have altered the validity of the scientific methods that have been used and reused repeatedly over the past year to confirm that the vaccines available and approved for public use meet the highest possible safety standards.

The overwhelming majority of side effects that do occur from vaccination appear within a few days or weeks (up to 6 weeks) of receiving the shot. I can understand the hesitation you and your family feel, but please rest assured that we already know the worst possible outcomes. The side effects we do see are also normally the result of normal immune function. Because vaccines provide a primer for the real virus, the body will often exhibit an inflammatory response, without the possibility of actual illness. The risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 itself is overwhelmingly greater than the risks associated with vaccination. Current data indicates that the chance of severe illness from COVID-19 is significantly reduced in vaccinated individuals, and deaths are nearly unheard of if not eliminated altogether.

I hope you'll take these things into consideration, even if you feel strongly about your opinion. I'm more than happy to answer any specific questions as well.



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Amanda Hanemaayer

Striving to live a life defined by empathy | writing about climate change, public health and social justice