Skip to Content
Local News

To vaccinate or not: Americans split on whether to get Covid-19 vaccine

SOUTHERN COLORADO (KRDO) -- According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 56% of Americans want to get the Covid-19 vaccine. That's a significant drop since the first survey was done in the Spring of 2020.

The findings were published in a December 2020 article after questioning 9,000 adults online. Of those surveyed in April 2020, 74% said they were likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it was available to the public. However, by late November to early December 2020, that number had dropped to 56%.

In hopes of gaining a better understanding, KRDO hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Roundtable with four people from southern Colorado who might represent those opinions.

The roundtable included two people who support the vaccine, a man and a woman, and two people who are skeptical and not planning on getting the vaccine anytime soon, another man and woman.

Rob Allen, who works in law enforcement, now has both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. He was motivated to roll up his sleeve after mourning the loss of a friend who died from the virus.

"He was the deputy," said Allen. "That kind of -- whoa -- if it could happen to him, maybe it could happen to me."

Jeff Hopkins, an El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy, was one of the first COVID-19 deaths in southern Colorado. Hopkins was 41.

"I'm relatively healthy. I'm relatively active. It's a precaution. I don't mind being a testbed," said Allen.

Neva Martinez Ortega also has a personal reason to get the vaccine. Her mother, activist Rita Martinez, died from COVID-19 in December. "Just a few days before the vaccines arrived in Pueblo," said Martinez Ortega.

"Everything turned very, very quickly," said Martinez Ortega. "We all thought that she was doing well. Having been through COVID, I know what that was like -- I personally don't have a huge fear of getting sick from the vaccine. My fear is more spreading COVID to other people."

That being said, distrust for the medical community runs deep in many minority groups -- take, for instance, the infamous Tuskegee Study, where Black men were unknowingly subjects of a decades-long study into untreated syphilis, conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Martinez Ortega acknowledges the struggle.

"I understand the mistrust for the vaccine -- but I know what life is like with COVID -- and this vaccine is the only way out right now," said Martinez Ortega.

Adding to the tension: minority groups in America on average are twice as likely to die of COVID-19, according to the CDC, due to crowded conditions and close living space.

"That really hurts me not only to see fellow Americans dying, but my people dying. But it's something that I feel that I have to do," said Martinez Ortega.

Linda Baker wants more testing and time to elapse before she's comfortable getting the vaccine.

"I will take the little bit of isolation and sit with it. They don't even know how long this medication is going to hold up," countered Baker.

Like many, she's skeptical that a vaccine could have been developed this quickly.

"I don't trust something that you have to keep at 30-below zero. If someone doesn't categorize it right, doesn't time it right, is it going to be a viable vaccine?" Baker said.

Don Currier doesn't want the vaccine either. Several years ago, he developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving a flu shot. A person's immune system attacks the nervous system with the condition.

Because of that, he's leery of aggravating his symptoms and hasn't gotten a flu shot since.

"I want to make sure they have more testing on it," said Currier. "I'm at the age where I should probably get it, but I'm going to wait."

The Expert

KRDO took many of these questions to Dr. Meaghan Misiasz, who specializes in allergy and immunology at UCHealth.

"We have a very efficacious vaccine. It's working. It's preventing many people from getting sick with Covid," said Dr. Misiasz. "The vaccine development has really been a collaboration of research from scientists, medical experts, that -- thus far -- has been unseen in our society. The mRNA platform, although it seems brand new, it's really been in development for well over a decade. Covid just happened -- fortunately -- to be a virus that it would work for."

So, just how does that mRNA technology work?

"mRNA does not become DNA -- it does not go backwards, if you will. DNA can create RNA. RNA can create a protein. The RNA is not going to be inserted into the genome, or become part of our DNA. You get the vaccination. The RNA goes into the cell. Within the cell, the cell creates a protein. This protein is produced and the body sees it and says, 'This protein's not us,' and it creates antibodies that remember that protein. So, when the virus comes in and has that protein on it. Those antibodies say: 'That guy. He's no good,' and they attack it. And that prevents you from getting Covid."

Dr. Misiasz admits: scientists don't know how long the vaccine will protect people, but it has -- thus far -- proven effective at working against the new variants.

"There don't seem to be any long-term effects of the COVID vaccine -- we don't have the data yet of years and years out from getting the vaccine, however," said Dr. Misiasz. "My concern would be if while you're waiting to get the vaccine, you get COVID-19, which we know could be so detrimental and have long-term side effects and make people so very ill. I don't think the wait is worth the risk of getting the vaccine."

Typically, Phase 3 vaccine trials employ anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 volunteers. Pfizer-BioNTech enlisted the help of 43,661 volunteers; Moderna, 30,000 volunteers.

Pfizer-BioNTech was shown to have a 95% efficacy rate; Moderna was shown to have a 94.1% efficacy rate.

Reactions

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) tracks vaccine reactions from the CDC and FDA. It lists 370 deaths after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine; those deaths, however, don't mean the adverse event was caused by the vaccine -- but that death occurred after receiving it.

"People can get hives from both an allergic reaction as well as an immune response. You can also get hives over the injection site. That's the immune cells coming to the injection site -- and really doing their job," said Dr. Misiasz.

According to the CDC, there have been rare instances of anaphylaxis: "2.5 anaphylaxis cases per million first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. No one died from anaphylaxis after receiving the Moderna vaccine. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, initial anaphylaxis rates after the first dose were 11.1 cases per million."

However, Dr. Misiasz says not everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine: those who have allergies to polyethylene glycol or to polysorbates, which are common components of laxatives. If a patient is on chemotherapy or other immuno- suppressants, the vaccine may not be as effective -- although that data is not complete yet.

Since the COVID vaccines were not tested on expectant mothers, the CDC says getting the vaccine for pregnant women is a personal choice.

Experts estimate that between 70%-90% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.

Coronavirus / Health / Health News / Investigations / News / Special Reports / State & Regional News / Talkers / Video / VOSOTs

Heather Skold

Heather is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Heather here.

Comments

44 Comments

  1. “There don’t seem to be any long-term effects of the COVID vaccine — we don’t have the data yet of years and years out from getting the vaccine, however”
    .
    Absolutely correct. But we do know the effects of being infected by Covid, and the odds of becoming sick long-term or dying. That’s why I got vaccinated as soon as it was available to me.
    .
    My decision was an educated one. As long as people understand the risk, they’re free to make their own choices. But not getting it doesn’t help the long term goals of achieving “herd immunity” in the population as a whole. So you’re making a decision which affects the people around you, as well as the whole population to an extent.

      1. Now if only Trump had ordered the amount the country actually needed, rather than coming up around 50% short. He probably didn’t understand that the number of doses needs to be divided by two to get the number of people it will treat.

    1. Well, you THINK you know the effects of COVID, but do you really? For example, what is the mortality rate? I spoke with a county coroner who told me about a person who fell off a 15′ scaffolding, landing on his head, and dying. But, his corpse tested positive for COVID, so it was listed as a COVID related death by State rules. Same for two homicide victims he handled, both of who had been shot to death. COVID related deaths as well.
      .
      I think most people who won’t take the vaccine are holding back because we DON’T know the truth about COVID or the vaccine.

      1. Obviously I can’t comment on an unverified specific case. But I know enough about Covid to know that I don’t want to become infected with it without taking all possible precautions against long-term effects.

  2. Since Christmas of 2019 I personally have not gotten sick – not even a sore throat. Kids were sick, tho. A few days of fever in March. Why should I get a vaccine? Only way would be for me to become so annoyed with getting sick with covid and it ruining my life for a week or two. Til then, keep testing and distributing to everyone else. I certainly don’t need it yet.

    1. You’re probably right. Or you could die unexpectedly like so many other people infected with Covid. By the time you think you need it, it’s already too late.

  3. I didn’t get a FLU SHOT before and I’m not gonna get one now!!!! THERE IS NO CURE!!!! IT’S A FLU SHOT!!!! I’m just glad they cant force us to take their made-up in a hurry with no testing answer to people that cant use their brain and build an immune system of their own. hurry out and use all the anti-bacterial soaps don’t let your body do its job!! Don’t have kids..PLEASE!! we need smart people not idiots that follow blindly.

    1. There a difference between following blindly and making a well-informed decision based on the best information available. And if you think Covid is the same as Influenza, you’re not well-informed.

    2. Says the person blindly following what they heard on a Facebook post.

      It’s not following blindly. It is being able to accept that I do not know everything, and that some people may actually be smarter than myself

  4. Very good article until the end. Covid is not like other childhood diseases that you can inoculate the world and gain herd immunity. It is much more like the flu where hers immunity is not posdible. Already the CDC is saying that once you had the shot you will not be required to quarantine for 3 months after exposure to covid. After 3 months you need to start to quarantine again.

  5. All you nut jobs out there not getting the vaccine because “I don’t know what’s in it”…go on out and have a Hot Dog for Lunch or Dinner. You don’t know what’s in those, either…but you still eat them!

  6. What was the reason MRNA vaccines were not authorized for use until CO-VID 19?
    What are the long-term side effects of all of the CO-VID 19 vaccines?
    How can the FDA guarantee that what occurred during 1955?
    With a company like Johnson & Johnson making one of the vaccines, how are we supposed to trust that this company has our health at the forefront of their decisions after the most recent lawsuit involving Asbestos in Talcum powder, and then finding out that the corporation knew this for Decades. That lawsuit cost J&J 4.7 Billion, directly thereafter their own company just downsized and sold portions of their business that were not successful at running. Again showing that it didn’t effect their business model, just the people that worked for them at the time.
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/
    How are we supposed to trust the FDA when they allow Big pharma to put medications that often times have worse side effects than what the medication is supposed to treat? Additionally, how does the FDA resolve authorizing big pharma to now make side effects an allergic reaction? Where can one go to get a skin prick test foe all of these medications to see if they are safe to take them? How does one know if they are allergic to a new medication if they have never taken the medication?

    1. How can the FDA guarantee that what occurred during 1955 “with the polio vaccine will not occur again?”
      How can the Federal Government guarantee that what they did to Military personnel that were exposed to the Anthrax Vaccine through the 90’s and 2000’s, and the long-term side effects this vaccine caused will not occur with these vaccines?
      There is plenty of reasons for skepticism of all of the CO-VID 19 vaccines especially when these questions are yet to be resolved.

      1. Most of us, and certainly the medical community as a whole, have learned a lot since the 1950s. If you haven’t learned anything since then, you can either take advantage of that collective intelligence or wait until it doesn’t matter any more.

        1. So why did they make the same mistake again with the Anthrax Vaccine? They pushed another vaccine without testing for the long-term effects, that led to people getting MS. This was only 20 years ago.

          1. They didn’t. Anthrax vaccine was one of the many possible causes investigated in the increased incidence of MS in Gulf War veterans. Many of those vets received as many as 17 vaccines, but no connection to any of the vaccines could ever be established. And it’s considered more likely that environmental conditions, such as diseases and chemical agents used, are more likely to have been contributory causes.
            .
            And it’s now been 30 years since that Anthrax vaccine was deployed. Meanwhile, scientific knowledge has progressed exponentially, so we have learned much more about vaccines in the past 30 years than in the previous 40 years.

          2. No mistake with the anthrax vaccine and it had been around for quiet a while.
            They are now (finally admitting) the real cause for the mysterious malady suffered by some serving in the middle east may have been exposure to Sarin.

    2. MRNA vaccines were only recently developed. All the background work took some years, but the timing of readiness for real use (around 2018) could not have been more fortuitous than to finalize Covid vaccines.

      1. What other vaccines have been made since 2018 from mRNA?
        Are they still in testing these vaccines or are they out for use for the public?
        With a new process that has never been utilized before like making vaccines from mRNA how does this not parallel the similarities of the polio vaccine and the Anthrax Vaccine in the aspect that the long-term effects were not tested before the vaccine was pushed into mainstream?

        1. P.S. RealityCheck, Thank you for answering these questions, as this field is not my area of expertise and if I remember correctly you stated previously you work / worked in the medical field. As an investigator and a student of history, I ask these questions because of what I have either researched or observed so far, but as a layman, I would greatly appreciate someone within this field to provide answers to these questions I do have.

          1. Yes I do, but immunology or vaccines are not my areas of expertise. So what I know about them from my general education and from what I’ve read personally.
            .
            As far as I know, there are no other mRNA vaccines at this time. The technology was only considered to be usable in about 2018. The big difference is that what’s being administered to patients triggers certain immune responses of the human body without introducing any foreign viruses or parts of them. Instead, the vaccine teaches our cells how to make a piece of a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That small piece of protein is the same as one of the pieces of protein on the virus itself. So the body’s response, which produces antibodies that match the piece of protein, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. The antibodies prevent the virus from becoming implanted and growing as it would otherwise. And unlike all other “traditional” vaccines, it does that without any part of the target virus going into our bodies.
            .
            Two big side advantages are that this type of vaccine can be produced a lot quicker that the traditional ones, and you don’t have to keep any of the target virus on hand to create the vaccine, making it much safer to produce with no possibility of contamination with the virus itself.

            I’m not sure I answered all your questions, but I hope it helps a bit . . .

          2. It did in answering those questions, though I am still skeptical based upon my other unanswered questions. I do thank you for taking the time to answer the questions you have the ability to answer and also advising your limitations on your education into immunology and vaccines (Not meant as an attack or a slight against you). Perhaps someone else will come along and can offer answers to my other questions to make me less skeptical, because I want to trust and believe our government and Big Pharma, but their track record is far less than reputable.

          3. Don’t confused “Big Pharma” consisting of large corporations with the single goal of making money, with the medical community at large. Unfortunately, research costs money, and very often the only source of that type of money is Big Pharma. But individual researchers are almost always looking to make the big breakthrough to help humanity as a whole. They just have to present it with a “profit” slant so they can get their funding.
            .
            And the government is still the government, regardless of who is in control of the White House or Congress. If it was a corporation, they would all be fired for inefficiency. They all have similar long-term goals on paper, but very different ways of accomplishing those goals, especially in the short term. But we have no choice other than to trust them to some extent, because they are a monopoly, and we have no realistic choice. And life is too short for most of us to try changing the whole system to something that would probably just have a different set of shortcomings.

          4. Eh, here is what I found regarding J&J’s business model in regards to how much of their own revenue they put into their Research and Development. Tough to really say that this data reflects J&J doing what you are describing. I do agree scientists and doctors try to do what they can, just tough when you have little access to the needed finances to support R&D.
            https://www.statista.com/statistics/266412/johnson-und-johnsons-rundd-expenditure-as-a-percent-of-revenues/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20the%20company's%20R%26D,percent%20of%20its%20total%20sales.

          5. meh first link may not work appropriately, here is the jest.
            In 2019, the company’s R&D expenditure made some 13.8 percent of its total sales.

  7. Let me summarize: COVID vaccines don’t keep you from getting COVID. COVID vaccines don’t keep you from spreading COVID. COVID vaccines should help your body fight COVID more effectively, as long as you catch the correct COVID strain. COVID vaccines have not been sufficiently tested to know their long term effects. And finally, COVID vaccines have killed hundreds of people (nearly 600 at last count) who thought they were doing the right thing by getting the shot.

    1. Wrong on a couple of things . . .
      The vaccines provide protection to all known strains of Covid, but protect against some strains better than others.
      Some vaccinated people have died from Covid DESPITE being vaccinated, because like all vaccines, these are not 100% effective. There is no evidence whatsoever that any of these vaccines killed anyone. Compare that to the millions of people worldwide who have died because they were not vaccinated.

      1. RC, would it be safe to say that what is known is the mortality rate of CO-VID 19 is approximately 1%.
        Additionally, wouldn’t it also be safe to say that at this point without having sufficient long-term testing it is an unknown variable still as to its mortality rate?
        Wouldn’t a person of science and medicine agree an unknown variable is far worse to trust than a 1%?

        1. Additionally, wouldn’t it also be safe to say that at this point without having sufficient long-term testing “of the vaccine” it is an unknown variable still as “to the vaccine’s” mortality rate?
          revised question because it read ambiguously in original statement.

          1. Mortality from vaccines usually occurs very quickly, like in a matter of minutes. So I think it’s fair to say that the likelihood of a significant mortality rate from these vaccines is extremely low. But no, neither I nor anyone else can promise it. Whereas the symptoms alone of being infected by Covid can be very bad, even before considering the mortality rate, which seems to be running close to 2% of those infected at the moment. And that’s come down from around 6% just a few months ago as we have learned how to treat the most critical effects of the virus. And the rate is still going down, which is really good.

  8. All of the Covid 19 vaccines are in the EXPERIMENTAL phase. The vaccinated are participating in TRIALS. The vaccine companies are protected from liability. Would you buy a new vehicle that just announced a revolutionary, new break system that 1) was put through limited, rush “testing”, and 2) is absolved of all liability? It is fact that there are effective treatments for Covid 19 when administered within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Politics has perverted the facts, “experts” have lost objectivity and rationality, and doctors are being cancelled and losing licenses for practicing medicine. Don’t check your brain at the door.

    1. No, the vaccines have been approved for emergency use, which is not the same as experimental use.
      .
      And while there are treatments for Covid, they are not as effective as not becoming infected with the virus in the first place. And both masks and vaccines can assist with that.
      .
      And your comparison to new vehicular technology is a non-starter. It’s like comparing your brain to a rock. Or perhaps I picked a bad analogy . . . 🙄

  9. “We have a very efficacious vaccine. It’s working. It’s preventing many people from getting sick with Covid,” said Dr. Misiasz
    Fact Check: False. This can’t be verified with the short time it has been out. What we do know is they have said is that even with the vaccine you can still get covid and have symptoms. The vaccine is shown to lessen those symptoms, NOT protect you from getting the virus. People with the vaccine can still have and spread covid.
    Saying blindly with little to no data that it is completely safe is a dangerous road to go down. There is no long term data showing it is safe or there is no other side affects.
    Reality Check is not an expert in the medical field. He has his doctorate from WebMD and also proudly parrots anything democrats say as truth and science. There have been NO deaths due to covid that are a surprise to the medical community after investigation. They say it was just a pure covid death then find out the person had many other underlying conditions they were unaware of that complicated things and caused them to die. ALSO they find out that if that same person was to get the normal flu it would of killed them also.
    Out pushing a “vaccine” that is not a vaccine and say 90% of all Americans Have to take it for us to get through this is false. Fauci has changed his mind several times on this subject. Why? Because he has no clue. There is so much unknowns. No one can honestly say that they know everything about this vaccine or virus. They do try to make it seem like they do but they don’t.

    1. Actually, a brand new study from the Mayo Clinic seems to indicate that people getting both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines appears to protect people from actually catching the virus. That means the virus will not adhere to your respiratory tract and will not reproduce there, so you can’t spread the virus either. This is what’s hoped with a new virus, but it’s not one of the first things you test for (vaccine safety and efficacy in reducing symptoms and deaths being the highest on the list). That’s why no one could commit to that earlier, but it now appears to be true with these vaccines.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content