OUR VIEW: Research, not social media, best way to decide on vaccine

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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For the last week, Georgia has been in the hundreds in total new cases of COVID-19 per day. As of Sunday, the 7-day average was 738.9, the first time we’ve seen numbers that low since June 2020.

If that’s not progress, then we’re not sure what progress would actually look like. Troup County’s 7-day average is 5.3 cases.

It’s been a year — last May — since we saw a number consistently that low.

It’s easy to look at that numbers and feel the urge to rip the mask off your face, burn it and plan to never wear it again. But it can’t happen. We can’t go there yet. Soon — we hope.

We talked to Coleman Foss, president of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, last week as part of an interview about the local hospital and WellStar at large. Foss made a great point. Many people base their decisions on the experiences of others.

If you hear that someone in your family, or a close friend, had an easy bout with COVID-19, it might impact your thinking. You might think “it’s not that bad” or “it’s overblown.”

If you know someone who got the COVID-19 vaccine and you hear that they ran a fever for two days and felt terrible, then you might think it’s not worth the hassle to get the shot.

But Foss and his staff have seen firsthand how COVID-19 has impacted people of all ages and races differently. Yes, it’s true that being older increases your odds of having severe — even deadly — symptoms of COVID-19. But it’s not that simple. Foss and WGMC have seen where previously healthy people have gotten extremely sick. And in some cases, people in their 90s have made it through and had less severe symptoms.

We urge you not to fall into that trap. Don’t let information you read on Facebook make make up your mind on whether or not get to get the vaccine. Do your own research — from actual, legitimate sources — when deciding. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, said Sunday that he thinks new CDC guidance may be coming for people who are vaccinated. That means we really could be moving on from masks — at least those of us who are fully vaccinated — in the very near future.

But that’s only 17 percent of Troup County at the moment. Put another way, less than one-fifth of Troup County is fully vaccinated right now, and that number is pretty terrifying when compared to other parts of our state and country.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, we encourage you to rethink it. Consider why and ensure the information you have is backed by a legitimate source.