On Monday, writing for The Kansas City Star, Toriano Porter, a Missouri-based opinion columnist, revealed what changed his mind about vaccine hesitancy, and made him decide to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Unlike full fledged anti-vaxxers, Porter isn't a conspiracy theorist. He is one of the millions of adults who was simply not sure what to think about the safety of a vaccine released so quickly — even though it was as fully tested as any other vaccine.
"For weeks, I was firmly against getting the shot," wrote Porter. "I have no particular aversion to needles. I trust health officials; the coronavirus has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.S. Its spread will have far-reaching consequences for some time. The internal struggle was real. I was slow to warm to the idea of a vaccine on the market within a year of a worldwide health emergency ... I wasn't getting the shot. Close friends and trusted colleagues urged me to reconsider."
"What changed? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent recommendation that fully-vaccinated people could forgo masks in public," wrote Porter. "I place a great deal of trust in data and science, unlike COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers. But could I trust that everyone now running around without a mask really has been vaccinated? No." And for that reason, he wrote, the benefits of getting the shot were obvious.
Porter freely acknowledged this may not be enough motivation for everyone.
"Last week, The New York Times ran a story headlined, 'Meet the four kinds of people holding us back from full vaccination.' They include the watchful, the COVID-19 skeptics, the cost-anxious and the system distrusters," wrote Porter. "I identified as 'watchful,' a crowd taking a wait-and-see approach to the vaccine. We wear masks, practice social distancing and regularly wash our hands, yet remain hesitant to commit to the shot right away."
"COVID-19 deniers were more apt to believe pandemic-related conspiracy theories, including that microchips were somehow implanted with the vaccine," wrote Porter. "The unidentified pharmacist (CVS employees aren't allowed to speak with the media) seemingly read my mind. 'No microchip can fit in there,' he cracked. 'See you in three weeks.'"
You can read more here.