They also didn’t hesitate. They, like millions of other seniors, have been at the epicenter of risk these past 12 months. Getting this group, along with the people who care for them, vaccinated is rightly the nation’s top priority. The reality is, without widespread vaccination, our vulnerable elders will continue to be the ones paying the highest price.
That’s why I am frustrated to hear that unfounded skepticism and misinformation are leading some Canadians – even those with seniors in their lives or who work in senior care – to refuse their COVID-19 vaccination. I understand that the decision to vaccinate is deeply personal for some, however as we face the enormity of a worldwide pandemic that has taken the lives of so many seniors, it is our collective responsibility to roll up our sleeves and do our part to protect them.
I want to address a few of the myths that I’ve heard:
Myth: The vaccines were developed too quickly, and we don’t know enough about them.
Reality: Driven by a rapidly escalating global pandemic, the world’s scientists, researchers and medical community rallied together, focusing on a single priority – a vaccine. Pooling their collective scientific brain power and resources meant success did come quickly, however these vaccines have all of the scientific rigour and evidence behind them to satisfy government expert reviewers in Canada and around the world. Now, with millions of vaccines delivered, they are also collecting more evidence in real time that is further supporting their use.
Myth: Social media says I should be worried about vaccine side effects.
Reality: Please make sure you are listening to a credible source when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines. Misinformation gains traction quickly on social media and even in the mainstream news media. Side effects so far with the vaccine have been very mild, are more likely after the second dose, and go away quickly. Getting COVID-19, a potentially deadly disease, is a far worse prospect. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has evaluated the risk with all of the vaccines, and its latest recommendations can be found on the Government of Canada website.
Myth: The long term consequences could be harmful.
Reality: Because of the way they work in the body, long term effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely. Remember that vaccination is widely considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements in history; without vaccines, we would still be living with devastating illnesses like polio, tuberculosis and smallpox. Vaccine safety is continually monitored by Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, local public health authorities, vaccine manufacturers and the Ministries of Health in Canada’s provinces and territories.
At Revera, along with supporting the vaccination of our residents, we strongly urge every employee to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. We are people serving people, and our residents and their families are counting on us – trusting us to do everything we can to help keep them safe. For everyone in senior care who chooses to work with the elderly, who respects those they serve and who is committed to a healthy environment for their colleagues, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 should be an easy choice to make. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Like my parents and countless other seniors who have already rolled up their sleeves, it is my hope that everyone else forgoes hesitation and rolls up theirs when their time comes. And, like I’ve heard said over the past few weeks, the best vaccine choice is the one that’s offered to you. Let’s work together to protect the most vulnerable around us, and to end this pandemic.