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VOICES: COVID facts are important

There’s an old saying: “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”

In today’s misinformation epidemic, It’s never been more important to get the right information out about the COVID vaccine.

So I was surprised to see the recent letter by Ms. Pennington in the Sunday (Aug. 22) edition of The Garden Island filled with dangerous misinformation.

But the letter, published by your paper and therefore given additional weight, since many readers don’t differentiate between letters, opinion columns or actual news stories, included this false statement that “there’s been over 12,000 deaths so far, and that’s a low estimate from people dying from the vaccine.”

That would be horrifying if true. It is absolutely not. She also said at least one-third have had an adverse reaction. What does that mean? You can call the momentary pain from the tiny needle an “adverse reaction.” Here are some actual facts from the Center for Disease Control, based on real data gathered daily:

1) As of Aug. 26 there have been 651,956 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. (0.211%);

2) As of Aug. 26 there were 38 million people diagnosed with COVID in the U.S. (11.4%) Many will have serious, long-term — perhaps even lifetime — health problems;

3) Two to five people per million have had an anaphylactic reaction. This is an allergic reaction that is serious but treatable;

4) Reports of death after COVID-19 are rare. FDA requires health-care providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccines. 363 million doses have been given as of Aug. 23, and during that time 6,968 reports (0.0019%) were received even though it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.

I speak from personal experience. I am a retired nurse anesthetist and, like many other health professionals on island, I volunteered at the Kaua‘i War Memorial, where the staff was administering as many as 800 vaccinations every day. One relatively rare reaction was fainting or dizziness, a nerve-related response due to fear, not to the vaccine, and easily treated by having the person lay flat. Everyone I saw who had this reaction recovered within minutes.

To those spreading anti-vaccine hysteria, I suggest you look at so many of your friends, neighbors and folks you come in contact with who have already gotten the vaccine. Where are all those serious, deadly reactions you’re so worried about? Surely we’d be seeing them on Kaua‘i by now? Pfizer vaccinations are now FDA approved as of Aug. 20. Check the website kauai.gov/vaccine and see how many sites around the island are offering free vaccinations. Do you want to be faced with a virus that could kill you or a vaccine that can protect you?

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Marsha Nager is a Kalaheo resident.
Source: The Garden Island

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