Pull the trigger: Get the shot

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No, the vaccine isn’t some conspiracy engineered by Bill Gates. The government isn’t injecting you with a microchip in order to track you. And while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given final approval to the vaccine, it has been authorized for emergency use based on extensive testing. 

The Times is joining the Boston Globe and newspapers across New England in this “Last Best Shot” campaign aimed at vaccine hesitancy — debunking the myths and calling out those who would spread misinformation about the vaccines. 

The vaccine alters your DNA? Nope. The vaccine causes infertility? Debunked. Should young people weigh the side effects versus their own immune system’s ability to fight off the disease? Sure, the side effects of the shot include a slight fever and a sore arm for most, but you risk getting the virus and becoming seriously ill. The data are clear, the virus is now spreading among young, unvaccinated individuals who can infect the vaccinated, but more importantly, put immunocompromised people who can’t get vaccinated at serious risk. An important point that often gets lost is that the longer the virus is given the chance to spread among unvaccinated people, the more likely it is to mutate or develop into a variant that will be vaccine-resistant. 

According to a YouGov poll, about 90 percent of Americans who don’t plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine say they fear the possible side effects more than they fear the virus itself. That same poll found that roughly half of those polled believe the government is using the shots to inject microchips.

Meanwhile, in one right-wing attempt to discredit the vaccines that has spread across TikTok, the producers use heavily edited videos to make it appear as if President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are responsible for the vaccine hesitancy because they wouldn’t trust the “Trump vaccine.” We’ve had people popping up in our comments attempting to spread this misinformation, as well.

Hogwash.

Clearly, Biden and Harris were both concerned with Trump’s blatant lies about COVID-19 and the misinformation he was spreading as the virus spread through our country. “Beautiful April” came and went, with the virus taking hundreds of thousands of lives. What Biden and Harris actually said was they wanted to make sure that any vaccine was properly vetted by experts, which it was. They have both solidly backed the vaccine effort.

Here’s what Biden actually said during his presidential campaign: “Charting a clear path of science-based vaccines, free from politics. I get asked the question: ‘If the president announced tomorrow we have a vaccine, would you take it?’ Only if it was completely transparent, that other experts in the country could look at it, only if we knew all of what went into it. Because so far, nothing he’s told us has been true.”

If you’re one of the people who is responsible for spreading misinformation on social media about COVID-19 and the vaccines that were created to help stave off this deadly virus: Shame on you.

While Dukes County has outstanding vaccination numbers, and, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has an overall vaccination rate of 95 percent, second only to Nantucket in the commonwealth, there are some holdouts. We also have no idea how many of the thousands of summer visitors arriving daily are unvaccinated.

What we do know is that since the middle of July, we have seen cases double every week. Something needs to be done before it gets out of hand. Incentives like giving away millions of dollars via VaxMillions and doling out free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme just aren’t enough.

We were thrilled to see the Loft, which attracts a large number of people to its concerts, require either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to gain admission to an event.

We are also supportive of the efforts in West Tisbury to require employees of the town to be vaccinated. We hope schools and other employers will follow suit. We are thrilled at the colleges that are requiring proof of vaccination for fall admission, and dismayed at those that aren’t.

You’ll hear anti-vaxxers say, “My body, my choice.” You can, indeed, choose not to get vaccinated. But if an employer has a vaccination policy, or a venue doesn’t allow admission without proof of vaccine, they’re not violating anyone’s rights. They’re simply letting those individuals know that a choice has consequences, which could include no longer working that job, being allowed to see your favorite musician’s live performance, or attending classes.

We need more people to join the “Last Best Shot” effort. If you’re on the fence, talk to your doctor about the vaccine efficacy. But, please, please, don’t make your decision based on what your “friends” are sharing on social media, or the latest Joe Rogan podcast.

We all want to get back to a better way of life. We were almost there. If you look at the chart with our COVID-19 story this week, it shows that right around the beginning of July we were at 0 positive results on the Vineyard. Now the Delta variant is steamrolling through our heavily populated Island, and we’ve gone from zero cases in early July to 87 in a few short weeks.

Help us put the brakes on COVID-19. Get the shot.