During the pandemic, people have wanted to get more covid vaccine shots than they could obtain. But, according to a recent CNN report, this is about to change. The report claims the U.S. is only weeks away from having more vaccines than people want. We will have this surplus because so many people are refusing to get shots. They are reluctant because they fear the vaccine may cause them harm – either immediately or in the future from possible long-term side effects.
Given the impending surplus of covid vaccines, the U.S. government should do a better job advertising the safety and effectiveness of the approved shots. The Pfizer and Moderna shots, which are both approved for distribution, appear safe. If people were better aware of how safe these vaccines were, they would be more likely to get them.
With safe and effective vaccines available, the government should be careful about the covid vaccines that they approve. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was recently approved while the AstraZeneca vaccines has not yet been approved. Both of these vaccines have been linked to blood clots. I have seen reports that these vaccines are less likely to cause blood clots than some birth control drugs are. Yet, when people hear that there is a risk of getting a blood clot from these shots, they won’t get them. People are often not very good at evaluating these types of risks. They often hear about the bad possible outcome and they avoid it, even if the risk of the bad outcome occurring is minuscule.
Because the U.S. government allowed the Johnson and Johnson shot, there is a danger that people will hear these vaccines cause blood clots and assign this risk to all covid vaccines. People are apt to think about vaccines as a group and not spend the time to differentiate between them. If this is the case, this new vaccine would lower the perceived average quality of the covid vaccines and make people even less likely to get them.
It appears that in just a few weeks the U.S will not need the Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available in sufficient supply.
I would have been in favor of approving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine if we were going to have a vaccine shortage. In the face of a vaccine shortage, people should probably risk the blood clots for the protection the vaccine offers. However, since there will not be a shortage for long, there is no sense asking people to take this risk. Other countries face a different situation than the U.S. They have a dire shortage of vaccines. For them, the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines probably can save many more lives than they would kill from blood clots.
The lesson here is simple. A country like the U.S. that has enough of a perceived superior product does not have to use a product perceived to be inferior. Countries that do not have enough of the superior vaccines should be willing to use valuable vaccines even though they are not as good as the superior, yet unavailable, other options.