VICE: ‘I haven't gotten COVID yet’ isn’t a good reason to skip the vax

UC infectious disease expert says unvaccinated people are riding the coattails of the vaccinated

More than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a significant portion of the population that has not been vaccinated against the virus. Unvaccinated people give a variety of reasons for refusing to get the vaccine, including the idea among some that not having gotten COVID-19 yet proves they are not at serious risk.

In a story published by VICE, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine was one of the sources cited about this line of thinking.

Fichtenbaum said for some, it's a coping mechanism. 

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Joe Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

"When you ask yourself, ‘How do I get through a pandemic and survive without driving myself crazy?’ some people choose to say ‘I’m generally healthy so even if I get it, I’ll be OK,’” he told VICE. 

But experts emphasize that if you’ve made it this far without contracting the virus, it’s because you’ve been lucky—not because you’re invincible or have natural immunity, which doesn’t exist. Fichtenbaum said this kind of thinking fits into the common mindset that “bad things” will happen to other people but not to us. 

“You hear of people getting hit by a car but you never think it’s going to be you,” Fichtenbaum said. He said people who say things like, “I’ve always been pretty healthy so I’ll be fine; [COVID] will happen to someone else” are engaging in a similar thought pattern.

But adopting the mindset that you’ll be OK and “natural immunity” will protect you, you’re not doing your part to protect yourself or others.

“You’re getting the benefits from other people who do get the vaccine and walking through life on the coattails of others,” Fichtenbaum said. But your luck may run out eventually, especially given how transmissible the Delta variant is and the fact that mask mandates in several states have been walked back. 

Read the entire story here

Lead photo/Ravenna Rutledge/UC Creative + Brand

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