Take a Bullet for the Team

As of today (June 17, 2021), 60 people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia have developed life-threatening blood clots. Two have died. Some 3.6 million people have received the vaccine. This means that about 1 in 60,000 people who have received the vaccine have developed blood clots.
However, many of the 3.6 million have received two doses and getting blood clots after the second dose is only a 1 in a 1.5 million chance.
So it turns out that the about 1 in 30,000 people who receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine get blood clots.
This seems to be to be an appalling set of numbers. The blood-clot cases are invariably reported as “rare” blood clots, but 1 in 30,000 seems high to me.
The health experts have now recommended that only those over 60 should have the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The argument goes that the statistical risk of getting blood clots is far lower than the risk of getting coronavirus and the ill-effects of coronavirus are, on average, far greater than the ill-effects of the vaccine.
So in Australia, we face an interesting ethical problem.
Thanks to border closures and other measures to slow the spread of the virus, very few people have coronavirus here, so the risk of getting blood clots from the vaccine must surely be a lot higher than the risk of suffering harm from the virus.
However, they’re telling us that if we want to open up the borders and to have no more lockdowns, we should get vaccinated.
The question therefore becomes: Is it worth the risk of getting vaccinated for the greater good? I’ve heard radio announcers say that we should take one for the team but that really implies that the vaccine is dangerous; “take one for the team” is quite similar to “take a bullet for the team”!
I suspect that most people in Australia are not prepared to take an AstraZeneca bullet for the team. They’re thinking “why should I endanger my health so that international tourism (for example) can open up?”
I personally am scared of the virus, but I’m terrified of the vaccine. Up until yesterday, the experts were telling me to get vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca because I’m 53 and that the rewards outweighed the risk, and now they’re saying that this is no longer the case and that I would have taken an unacceptably high risk in getting the vaccine.
With this kind of messaging combined with the fact that these vaccines are all new, I suspect most people in Australia are thinking that it’s better to ride out their isolation from the rest of the world (in this fantastic country) than to risk the not-so “rare” blood clots and other side effects of these brand-new vaccines.
I also suspect that most people in Australia are happy to wait for better, safer, and more effective vaccines and drugs to be developed. (Side note: I’ve actually heard very little about therapeutics drugs for the treatment of coronavirus. Are vaccines and respirators the only things we have to fight this terrible disease?)
For most people, it’s not really “vaccine hesitancy”, it’s more like “vaccine, yeah, nah, keep your vaccine, I’m happy to wait…”

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