OPINION: Protect the USF community and get vaccinated

When returning to campus this semester, vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself and fellow Bulls from COVID-19. ORACLE PHOTO

With the rise in media coverage and public panic over the COVID-19 omicron variant, USF Health Senior Vice President Charles Lockwood released a statement Dec. 6 imploring USF staff and students to receive multi-dose vaccinations to stop the spread of the virus.

If you plan to return to USF in person this semester, getting vaccinated is integral to protecting the health of you and your peers.

Vaccinations are the most effective method of COVID-19 prevention, with Moderna achieving 91.3% efficacy and Pfizer achieving 95%, according to a February Yale Medicine study

Compared to the 70% prevention efficacy rate of mask usage as stated in a December Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) brief, vaccines are the most consistent and potent safeguard against infection and transmission.

Not only are vaccines effective for prevention, in the case of contraction, they are highly effective against severe illness, according to the CDC.

Despite the vaccinations readily available to American citizens, 98% of the approximately 1,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 everyday refused the vaccines for reasons other than health exemption, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) Vaccine Monitor Dashboard

“The greatest threat of this variant is not illness but its potential to take our focus away from the real public health challenge, the delta variant, which continues its relentless onslaught fueled by unfounded, irrational vaccine hesitancy and lethal misinformation,” Lockwood said in his statement.

Approximately 53% of adults who refuse the vaccine do so on the grounds that it is too new, and 53% of refusals are also due to concerns over side effects, according to KFF. 

COVID-19 vaccines have undergone, and will continue to undergo, the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, according to the CDC.

The vaccines were developed with science that has been proven effective for decades, and the safety monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines’ implementation has been the most thorough in U.S. history.

The U.S. government has developed multiple new monitoring methods for the vaccinated to track their progress and report side effects. The technology is called v-safe, and you can enroll on the CDC website.

Any and all side effects to date have been recorded, and are much more treatable and trackable than the effects of a COVID-19 infection. 

In the return to USF campus, all students and staff should follow Lockwood’s advice and consider vaccination for their own health and the health of their peers. 

Don’t allow misinformation to prevent you from saving lives.