Already typing these first few words of this opinion piece makes me wonder whether I should have just let it go and wrote about something that maybe is not so serious and won’t cause that much backlash. But where is the fun in that?
Honestly, I am not the kind of person that has to convince everyone that my opinion is always right and that theirs is wrong, but a conversation I had with my neighbour recently just made me want to put my thoughts in words and explain how I changed my own opinion.
Just to put this out there; I am not against vaccines and I do believe they work, I am up to date with all of them (apart from the Covid vaccine).
My neighbour is absolutely 100 percent sure that Covid-19 does not exist and that the vaccines are actually just a rouse to get every person on this planet micro chipped and/or poisoned.
I mean I had read about people thinking this way on the internet, but actually having someone I know say that out loud just made me stop for a moment and wonder where she got that idea from. And sure enough, her source was Facebook and some other conspiracy websites that seemed dubious at best.
But that’s okay, I don’t blame anyone for being misinformed. These days it is hard enough to know what you can actually trust on the internet and what is just purely made up, which is why I urge everyone to always double and triple check all of their sources before they spread the word.
As soon as we heard the vaccines were about to roll out, my first feelings about it were doubt and fear. Doubt that in such a short time they could produce a safe vaccine and fear that it may have unforeseen side effects, plus the fact that I have a needle phobia did not really help.
So I went on the internet and checked and read and studied and tried really hard to understand what this vaccine was and how it worked.
A bit more googling and some memory snippets from 10th grade biology class helped me figure out what was actually being done here.
What we are dealing with, are mRNA vaccines, a new kind of vaccine that doesn’t require weakened or inactivated germs from the actual disease. mRNA stands for “messenger RNA”, simply put, it sends a message to your cells and teaches them how to make a protein that can then trigger an immune response and produce the necessary antibodies.
It means we don’t have to infect ourselves with a little bit of the disease, we can simply send a message to our cells and give them instructions on how to fight something our body and our cells have never even made contact with before.
I thought this was really cool and super smart but was also still a bit apprehensive about a completely new kind of vaccine. Turns out it’s actually not as new as I thought, I had just never heard about it before, and I think it is quite normal to be apprehensive about the unknown. mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades already. Granted, for other diseases, but this means that the time it took to develop the Covid-19 vaccine was actually just spent on designing the mRNA instructions specific for this virus, the rest was already there.
This information and some conversations with people whose opinion I value and trust has made me rethink how I approached this topic and though I must admit that I too let myself get scared by things I read on Facebook and misinformation posted on click-bait sites, I still went and spent a couple of hours informing myself, doing my own research and in the end changing my opinion and making the unknown a little less scary.