KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’re inching closer to having a COVID-19 vaccine, but even once it’s ready for roll-out, many may be resistant to taking it.
Inside a bright blue bus, Kansas Citians are signing up to take part in phase-three clinical trials for the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccination.
Doctors say it’s a needed tool in a pandemic spiraling out of control.
“Most people are not aware of how much impact vaccines have had because we’ve grown up with them, that this is what the world looks like without one vaccine for coronavirus,” said Dr. Barbara Pahud, Children’s Mercy Hospital infectious disease research director.
The process is taking heat by some because of its rapid development under Operation Warp Speed, which has not included animal testing. But experts involved in the trials believe once the vaccine is available to the public, it will absolutely be safe.
“We’re doing every single step that we need to do in order to get a vaccine approved and released into the public. We need to do phase one, two and phase three studies where we ensure the safety of a vaccine at every step,” Pahud said.
But a new group called Kansans for Health Freedom is not convinced.
Members of the group are nervous about billions of dollars in incentives given to big pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccine and that the process is happening in months, not years.
“We don’t know how long, if you get a vaccine, and if it has 90% effectiveness, how long does that effectiveness last? Will it wear off in three weeks? Will it be three months? We don’t know. They haven’t done the testing over a long period of time,” said Debbie Mize, vice president of Kansans for Health Freedom.
The group also stresses while more than 60,000 people took part in Pfizer and Moderna testing, the effectiveness is only based on about 200 people who got COVID-19 during trials.
“Ask yourself, does that trial make me feel comfortable enough to want to take the vaccine? And hopefully we’re able to keep it free enough of a society to where people are able to weigh that and make that decision for themselves,” said Andrea Mukhija, communications leader with Kansans for Health Freedom.
Doctors caution that anyone who opts not to get the COVID vaccine will open themselves and others up to getting sick. They insist the world getting back to normal hinges on protecting as many people as possible.
“Even though people say they will not take the vaccine, I think as the disease goes through the winter and has a significantly higher impact than it has had since we discovered it a year ago, I believe people will be ready to end this madness of living in a world without a vaccine and people will take it,” Pahud said.