The game has changed. The prize for winning? Life.

Sonya Addison, MD

By Sonya Addison, MD

COVID-19 used to be a disease of the elderly and high-risk groups. The delta variant is much more contagious, and just as dangerous. Our local hospitals are again nearly full. The rules have changed. COVID-19 is now a disease of the unvaccinated. 

Of those admitted to hospitals, more than 95% are unvaccinated. More than 99% of coronavirus deaths are unvaccinated. This number is 100% at some local facilities. We are treating patients in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s on a regular basis. This variant does not discriminate based on age. Young people are not just admitted, they are dying. They leave behind children, spouses, and a clear reason to be vaccinated.

It has been a while since I last wrote about the COVID-19 vaccine. In that time, more than 4.3 billion doses have been given worldwide. We have more than a year of information, including the post-marketing data that so many people demanded before consenting to the jab.

Despite this vast amount of data, many still hesitate to vaccinate. I spend hours each day answering questions and dispelling the myths that continue to circulate in the media and on social media. 

I recently treated a patient who was in their early 40’s. They asked if they could now get the vaccine as the BiPAP machine (a breathing machine one step before being on a ventilator) was being started. If you survive, then, yes, we want you to have a vaccine. It was too late for that person. It is not too late for their family, friends, or you.

I will now address some of the reasons why my patients have not been vaccinated.

This vaccine

technology is too new 

Work with mRNA started more than 40 years ago. In 1990, it was proven that the technology works in mice. It is not new.

What about long-term side effects?

These vaccines are not vastly different from other vaccines. There is no pathophysiologic process by which long-term damage could occur. The spike protein is broken down by the cells by an efficient enzymatic process. It is then expelled from the cells, then the body, within a few days of administration. None of the protein is retained in the body. 

I’m worried about

becoming infertile 

Early on, there was concern that the spike protein in the mRNA vaccine was similar to a protein required for placental development. This information spread quickly, and it naturally caught the attention of women of childbearing age. Many refused vaccination based on this. Fortunately, this is not the case. This protein is not similar to the placental protein. Obstetric groups are now recommending vaccination prior to or during pregnancy.  Infection during pregnancy can lead to death, miscarriage, or preterm delivery. COVID-19 frequently causes blood clots (legs, lungs, etc.). Pregnancy is also a high-risk condition for developing clots. Infection during pregnancy is a high-risk gamble for mother and baby.

The side effects are too dangerous

Any vaccine, medication, or treatment does come with a risk of side effects. But, like other accepted vaccines, the risk with COVID-19 vaccines is very low. When present, they usually appear within the first week or so after vaccination (not months or years later). It takes about six months to get a good grasp on the true incidence of these effects. We now have over a year’s worth of data.

Thrombocytopenic purpura (TPP) is a rare clotting disorder. It happens in just 0.00000006% after the Moderna vaccine. Guillan-Barre is much more common at 0.00001%.  These are not necessarily fatal. Compare that to a 1.7% death rate for COVID-19. The risk of death is 5,000 times (that is a comma, not a decimal) higher with infection than for the most common and usually non-lethal side effect of the vaccine. With accurate information, you can decide which is safer. The evidence is obviously clear.

I don’t want the vaccine to change my DNA

Your DNA resides safely within the nucleus of your cells. The spike protein cannot enter the nucleus. Your DNA is safe. 

The vaccines are


Not true. They went through the same approval process as other vaccines. The difference? The reams of trial information did not sit on someone’s desk for months to years before being reviewed. The waste was cut out. Each still underwent the rigorous trials. Six months of data is needed to gain full FDA approval, and we now have that. Based on the data, they will likely have that full approval within days to weeks. There is even a chance that they will be approved before this goes to press. 

Too many people die after the vaccine

There are few if no deaths attributed to the vaccines. The VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Reporting System) takes any and all side effects, claims of death, etc., into account. Anyone can file an adverse event. Most are actually not related to the vaccine, and many are found to be fake after investigation. You must rely on multiple accurate sources for your data. 

What about the 


There are no microchips in this vaccine (or any other vaccine or medication). This rumor likely started after discussion of virtual certificates in which to store one’s vaccine data. The government is not making this vaccine. Also, why would they need to surreptitiously chip everyone when we have voluntarily carried around tracking devices for more than a decade? If you are worried about the government tracking you, then you need to reconsider your use of smart phones, watches, and social media.

I have great 

immune system, 

so I don’t need it

What if your immune system is “too” good? One of the hallmarks of COVID-19 is its ability to cause a cytokine storm. This is when the immune system overreacts to the virus, causing multi-organ failure, permanent damage, and often death. This isn’t as rare as you’d think. I see it frequently. This is a new virus. Our bodies have no prior immune “knowledge.” You could have a normal response (illness), or you may get “lucky” and over-respond. The stakes are high when gambling with your life. 

I also implore you to think about someone other than yourself. You may have fantastic health, but many around you do not. Your vaccination status impacts everyone with whom you interact. If you aren’t willing to protect yourself, then for goodness’s sake, do it to protect others. Yes, I have met an older patient who was hospitalized after her unvaccinated son gave her COVID-19. She was vaccinated and survived without any long-term effects. She is still mad at him. Don’t be her son.

I’ve already had COVID-19, so I’m 


You could be right. Or not. Those with prior infection likely have some protection. However, every infection is different. Your viral load may have been low, meaning that your immune system may have produced a lower level of protection for next time.  The immunity from infection also wanes over time, meaning that you are at higher risk. The vaccines are proven to provide a stable and predictable immune response. Will the vaccine provide lifelong protection? That is not yet clear. I suspect that we will need additional vaccines over time. 

Please consider vaccination against COVID-19. The current wave is filling hospitals. Nurses, techs, providers, staff – the medical professionals who have vowed to serve you – are burning out. Your care teams are exhausted, depressed, and infuriated. It is hard to watch someone die alone. Their families do not get to say goodbye. The children don’t get that last hug. We are running out of room to treat everyone else. The unvaccinated are the admitted, ventilated, and dying. The unvaccinated are driving the current coronavirus wave and keeping us in this cycle. 

If you have any reservations about the vaccine, then talk with your medical provider. Get real answers. Understand the science. Make the obvious decision. End the game.

Sonya Addison, MD, is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, and holds a certification by the American Society of Hypertension. She currently practices Endocrinology at Boone Medical Group Diabetes and Endocrinology in Columbia, Mo.  This column is for educational and entertainment purposes, and is not meant to replace the advice of your personal medical team.

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