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Would COVID Vaccine Deniers Refuse a Smallpox Vaccine When Faced with an Outbreak?


In attempting to understand the reluctance of approximately 20 percent of our population over the age of 12 to receive an FDA-approved COVID vaccine, one is tempted to consider alternative diseases.  Notwithstanding the fact that smallpox has been eradicated, repositories of the virus are present in a number of laboratories including in the U.S.  Assuming there was a laboratory error and a limited outbreak of the dreaded disease occurred, would citizens in the affected area be as ready to reject a smallpox vaccine as they are to resist a protective dose of COVID vaccine?


Evidence shows that vaccination effectively prevents hospitalization and certainly death after exposure to the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus.  It is a matter of record that in excess of 90 percent of patients in hospital, and virtually all in ICU wards, were not vaccinated.  Those that were have one or more predisposing conditions including age, diabetes, immunosuppression, or other medical circumstances.


What is the difference between COVID and smallpox?  COVID has unfortunately become politicized and strongly associated with the nebulous concept of ‘freedom’ or ‘personal choice’.  Obviously with smallpox, self-preservation would be the major motivation to be protected against the disease which at best will produce hideous permanent skin disfigurement and at worse a painful death.  For those doubting the effect of COVID, one can point to the 660,000 of our fellow citizens that have succumbed to the disease. We should consider the suffering and cost of those that survived clinical infection and face possibly long-term effects on their renal, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems. 


Without question all reasonable people would regard smallpox as a public health issue and readily receive a federally-approved vaccine.  So why the reluctance with COVID?  Vaccine rejection has nothing to do with science nor a reasonable assessment of risks and consequences.  The sooner the reluctant minority are vaccinated the more likely they are to survive but more important, not to pass the disease on to their families and the community. So take the shot and let us restore our pre-COVID economy and lifestyle.