Why I’ll Not Be Taking a Covid-19 Vaccine — and I’m a Scientist
(Note added on 6 April 2021: Although I stand by everything I wrote in this essay in August 2020, as I explained in a follow up essay and in the notes below, the emergency use authorization approval process used by the FDA three months later ended up following standard rules to evaluate safety and efficacy. Because of this critical change, I altered my opinion about Covid-19 vaccines. Not only have I been vaccinated, I have volunteered regularly at vaccination clinics.)
When a vaccine for Covid-19 is released in the United States I will likely be one of the millions of people who abstains from taking it.
As a scientist with a Ph.D. in biology, I am shocked to be writing those words.
As someone who has written and spoken out regularly about the value of vaccination and against the pseudo-scientific position promoted by anti-vaxxers, both on the right and the left, I am shocked to be writing those words.
As someone at higher risk given my age and the fact that I take a drug suppressing my immune system, I am shocked to be writing those words.
As someone who has already had a flu vaccine for the coming flu season, I am shocked to be writing those words.
As an American who cares about the health and well-being of those in my local community and across the nation, I am shocked to be writing those words.
I am shocked to be writing those words.
But I have written those words and, as much as they distress me, I believe them and I believe that my decision is the correct one. It’s the correct one for me, it’s the correct one for those I love and it’s the correct one for our country.
A vaccine that doesn’t work will likely do more to spread Covid-19 than no vaccine.
A vaccine that hasn’t been proven safe can do irreparable damage to those who do opt to be inoculated.
I haven’t come to this conclusion lightly; the consequences are simply too great to trivialize the issue.
Perhaps I’ve not been cynical enough over the 45 years since I entered my Ph.D. program. I’ve trusted the process of science and the scientific method. I’ve believed that science…