“What do we do next? Are we refusing vaccination, letting prices rise, overloading the health care system, increasing inflation and general poverty? Or do we sit in a round and quietly discuss all the pros and cons, and make the right decisions that will have a serious impact on our current lives and on the lives of future generations? Do we really consider ourselves so rich that we can refuse the vaccine?”
The topic of vaccination is becoming increasingly relevant for several reasons.
Here are just a few arguments collected from various studies and analyses:
- Large and rich countries have reached vaccination rates of more than 80% and are in the process of restarting their economies. In the context of globalization and economic interdependence, low vaccination rates in low- and middle-income countries undermine the plans of major economies to return to intense economic activities.
- Low vaccination rates have a direct impact on rising inflation and rising prices for essential commodities. Prices rise equally in rich and poor countries. While rich countries have social support mechanisms, for poor countries higher prices mean deeper poverty.
- Uneven coverage of vaccines contributes to the creation of new strains. The virus is a highly contagious pathogen, and new strains help the virus spread even faster around the world. No country in the world can be safe if the virus continues to spread among people.
What is the vaccination situation around the world?
On a global scale, all countries are currently divided into three large groups.
The first group includes countries with a high vaccination rate of more than 50 people out of 100, that is, more than 50%. These countries have seen a marked decline in overall deaths from COVID-19.
The second group of countries includes countries with an average vaccination rate of 30-50%. Overall deaths due to COVID-19 in these countries are not constantly decreasing but fluctuating. This clearly shows us the direct correlation of the mortality rate on the level of vaccination. Even with the relative increase in the number of new cases caused by new strains such as Delta, mortality remains extremely low in countries with medium and high vaccination rates.
The third group of countries includes countries with low vaccination rates or levels below 30%. It is this group of countries that now includes Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria. What is specific to these countries is that the increase in the number of new cases and the number of deaths is faster than the increase in vaccination rates.
This new model of countries redistribution helps us a lot to explain and respond to claims of vaccine refusals on the grounds that vaccinated people are also getting sick. Those vaccinated can indeed get COVID-19, but the number of deaths among those vaccinated is extremely low compared to the number of deaths among the unvaccinated.
Who is easier to accept to take the vaccine and why?
A recent study published in the well-known scientific journal NATURE analyzed the rate of vaccine adoption in 10 low- and middle-income countries, in Asia, Africa and South America, Russia (a higher-middle-income country) and the United States.
According to the study's authors, we find significantly higher willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine in low- and middle-income countries (averaging 80.3 percent), compared to the U.S. (averaging 64.6 percent) and Russia (an average of 30.4 percent).
The adoption of the vaccine in low- and middle-income countries is primarily due to interest in personal protection against COVID-19, while concern about side effects is the most common cause of doubts.
Health care workers are the most reliable sources of covid-19 vaccine recommendations.
Data from this sample of low- and middle-income countries suggest that prioritizing vaccine distribution to poor countries should deliver good results to advance global COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
Vaccination campaigns should focus on transforming high levels of declared adoption into effective vaccination.
The communications, highlighting the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine, made by healthcare workers can be effective in addressing any remaining concerns in the analyzed low- and middle-income countries.
Where is Moldova?
Above we saw that Moldova is currently in the group of countries with a low level of vaccination. Just over 20% of our country's population received one dose of the vaccine.
At the same time, Moldova is among the low- and middle-income countries in terms of incomes. So, their vaccine adoption rate should be about 80 percent.
It's a paradox, and a lot of people wonder where we got it wrong?
Are we too rich to give up the vaccine?
People in rich countries have the luxury of giving up the vaccine because they know the health care system will take care of them in case, they get sick. They may refuse the vaccine, but they don't. They go and get vaccinated and, what's more, they already want a third dose just to be ensured, they are protected.
People in poor countries who are aware of the limitations of their country's public health systems understand that vaccine is their only salvation and look forward to it. When they must choose between life and death, these people, even when they are very poor, choose life. The dose of vaccine for them is equal to the real chance of saving life.
In Moldova, people are poor, some even extremely poor, but behave like rich, consistently refusing the vaccine. This is a kind of group cognitive dissonance, constantly fueled by publications in the media and social networks.
Health care workers, who are the most reliable sources of information on COVID-19 vaccines and who are also the only professionals responsible for treating the sick people, vaccinating the healthy population, currently have extremely limited ability to cope with anti-vaccination plots.
What do we do next? Are we refusing vaccination, letting prices rise, overloading the health care system, increasing inflation and general poverty? Or do we sit in a round and quietly discuss all the pros and cons, and make the right decisions that will have a serious impact on our current lives and on the lives of future generations? Do we really consider ourselves so rich that we can refuse the vaccine?