(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Crescenta Valley High School

Opinion: Will emphasizing the rare health risks of vaccines increase the toll of the pandemic?

With 2.78 million doses of vaccines being administered per day in the United States, anyone would have at least heard once about potential side effects of vaccines — from simple headaches and fever to severe allergic reactions and rare blood clots called “prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia.”

Although deadly vaccine-related health risks, such as prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, are highly infrequent, they are still powerful and scary enough to make people doubtful of the safety of vaccines.

In France — where the number of COVID-19 cases is surging up each day — about 60% of the residents showed their hesitations against certain COIVD-19 vaccines that have records of engendering health issues among young and previously healthy patients.

Even though the correlation between vaccines and extreme health issues is not yet confirmed to be true, news and social media platforms are already replete with “exaggerated and dramatic” stories on some rare cases of patients suffering from fatal “vaccine-related” illnesses.

In this scenario, the word “rare” means two to five people per millions of people who receive vaccinations.

So yes, media and various platforms are making it seem like one-in-a-million vaccine-induced health issues are common and widespread trouble that proves the invalidity of vaccines.

These outlets use the most obvious and shocking cases of vaccine side effects and write their articles so compellingly that people start to lose their eagerness to get vaccinated.

According to The Atlantic, these untrustworthy and attention-seeking articles are producing anxieties that exacerbate the heavy toll of the pandemic.

Essentially, hospitals and health care services are doused with chaos and exhaustion, struggling to manage millions of COVID-19 patients. The invention of vaccines was equivalent to a bright ray of sunlight amid the storm — lessening the burdens that were arduously carried for a year. When doubtful people refuse to receive vaccinations, the toll of the pandemic would increase uncontrollably, causing the storm to set in again.

However, despite the fact that not mentioning the infrequent health risks of vaccines prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from surging exponentially, hiding the fatality of these rare health issues can seriously harm people through other means.

According to Science magazine, German officials said that there were seven cases of fatal cerebral venous sinus thrombosis in patients who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis is a rare form of stroke where blood clots form in the brain’s venous sinuses and prevent blood from draining out of the brain.

Not only did the AstraZeneca vaccine cause life-threatening mass bleeding in the brain in some patients, Clemens Wendtner who is a hematologist at the Munich Clinic said that one patient had blood clots throughout the entire body.

Similarly, in the United States, about 36 people who received Pfizer and Moderna vaccines suffered from immune thrombocytopenia. In Norway, two patients who received the AstraZeneca vaccine died from clotting disorders that caused severe internal bleeding.

Although being inflicted with these fatal blood disorders from COVID-19 vaccinations is a chance of 1 in a million, there is a chance for everyone to be that one person among millions.

Will ignoring these issues and persisting the vaccinations be the best option for the vigor and health of the world? Do the benefits of vaccines overweigh the drawbacks?

In the end, vaccines were invented to ensure the health of every individual in the world.

Instead of immediately assuming that any vaccines are safe to be taken or blindly refusing the vaccines because of rumors and emotions, we should critically compare the pros and cons of vaccines and do what is best for our health.