OPINION: Vaccine doubt must go if we want to kick COVID
As a person who's always had a lot of faith in science, the inevitable scepticism that seems to follow the discovery of a new vaccine has always been a mystery to me.
Having a limited understanding of the complex nature of pathology, I've come to accept that perhaps someone who has decades of experience in the field might know better than me, and my inability to wrap my brain around certain topics doesn't make them false.
After the horrors we faced this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was expecting the development of a vaccine to be met with tears of joy and relief, but this hasn't been the case at all. Instead a shocking number of people I've spoken to have said they either won't be getting the vaccine or they plan to delay, saying the speedy production time has made them nervous.
While in past years it's been tempting to ride of the holders of dangerous opinions as uninformed or a bit of a contrarian, this year we've found ourselves in uncharted waters and a person cannot be blamed for feeling a little sceptical.
Up until now, the quickest vaccine developed from viral sampling to approval was for the mumps back in the 60s, with many others taking decades before being deemed fit to jab. With the average vaccine taking 10 years to develop, I can see why the speedy production of the COVID vaccine - which arrived on scene in less than a year - may be a little jarring.
This, however, this didn't come about because vital safety steps were being skipped, it's because adequate funding allowed scientists to take financial risks, enabling them to rapidly speed up the process. Fears this vaccine was created 'too quickly' have no basis in fact - we've just rarely been placed in a position where scientists are properly funded, so we have no concept of what is possible.
Unfortunately, communicating the method behind these scientific advancements to the general public is no easy feat, forcing people to trust the process without necessarily understanding it. This is made more difficult thanks to an endless barrage of very vocal blockheads on social media, who enjoy nothing more than frightening an already fragile population with their half baked theories about topics they don't understand.
The more people who are discouraged from getting the vaccine, the less effective it will be overall, with approximately 95 per cent of the population needing to bite the bullet if we want the beat this thing.
Despite many swinging it as a personal choice, it's a touch more complicated than that when you take newborn babies and immunocompromised people, who cannot be vaccinated, into consideration.
We aren't getting vaccinated for us, we're doing it for them, so the virus can't spread through the population and reach individuals who can't fight it.
And while we're stuck viewing this vaccine through a negative lens, the wonderful positives are going unnoticed. Apart from the obvious eradication of the virus, the lightning-fast development of this vaccine challenges what we thought was possible and is great sign of what's to come. Perhaps with a bit of cash and healthy competition, vaccines for current and future diseases could be created on a similar timeline.
I truly hope we can overcome this fear, and the misinformation perpetuating it, so we can defeat this virus once and for all.