Vaccine negativity and reluctance didn’t just emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent study published in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal, authors from Loyola University Maryland and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explored the appearance of negative dominance – a concept in which negative messages outweigh positive, solution-oriented messages in audiences’ perceptions – in the context of COVID-19 vaccine-related information and activity online.
Prior research has looked at media coverage to identify vaccine concerns among the public and its impact on vaccine-related beliefs and behaviors, the spread of misinformation and fake news on the Internet, and the role of social media in aiding vaccine hesitancy, among others. Surprisingly, however, research to date has yet to explicitly explore negative dominance of vaccine-related information online using more recently developed tools for analyzing big data.
I got jabbed yesterday. I joined the fastest growing club in the country Wednesday. I got my COVID-19 shot. As regular readers know, I turned 81 last month, so I am eligible. For the record, I was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine which has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Illinois Department of Health reports that so far some 1,000,000 people have received the first shot.
The hospital lies around a mile and a quarter from my apartment, so I walked it. Like much of the country, my home town of Chicago is under siege from Old Man Winter. The temp was barely into double digits on the Fahrenheit scale for my walk. Sadly, I have still not mastered wearing a mask with my glasses on and not getting them fogged up. By the time I got to the hospital, I carried my glasses in my hand and I was walking in a semi fog.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a huge complex of buildings and by the time I had navigated my way to the ‘correct’ section, I had added at least a quarter mile to my frigid hike.
On the positive side, the hospital was fully up for the occasion. I followed a string of other seniors up two flights. There were volunteers about every 20 feet or so to point us to exactly where we needed to be.
We arrived at a room about the size of a basketball court with dozens of tables placed about 10 feet apart with a health care worker seated at each one.
Over the course of about 10 minutes, my guy gave me the usual questions about any symptoms, etc., then proceeded to read through the various considerations with getting an Emergency Authorized vaccine.
As I had experienced severe side effects from my second shingles shot several months ago, I asked him if he had any stories to share with me about this shot. He said that he had experienced some soreness at the site and fatigue from his first shot and a little fever after the second one, but nothing dramatic.
I agreed that I was aware of the risks and was willing to get my shot. It was over in a second and maybe even quicker than my flu shot back in October.
Afterwards, I was directed to an area one floor down where I and everyone else who had a shot in the last quarter hour would ‘set a spell.’ This was to confirm that there were no immediate bad results from the shot.
I am writing this some five hours after the fact. Still no irksome side effects to speak of. Not even soreness in my shoulder.
As you know from my previous postings here, I am a big believer in getting inoculated. Will receive my second shot on March third and will update you then on my situation. In the meantime, I hope you will seriously consider getting one, too.
Regular readers know I feel very strongly that getting a flu shot is a good idea and greatly increases our chances of missing out on this annual disease. I have an entire page on flu shot related items.
Now, the National Institutes of Health publication HealthDay reports that getting a seasonal flu shot “might also significantly reduce your risk of stroke.
“We know that cardiovascular diseases tend to hit during winter, and that the risks may be heightened by respiratory infections such as flu. Our study showed a highly significant association between flu vaccination and reduced risk of stroke within the same flu season,” said lead investigator Niro Siriwardena, a professor in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln in England.”
I always start advising personal friends as well as readers to get their flu shot in October to be protected for the entire season. That turns out to be a good thing as the study authors said stroke risk reduction was strongest if a person received a shot early in the flu season.
To read more on this season’s flu type in the word flu in the box and the right and click search.