Community Weary, Split on COVID-19 Vaccine

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A sign in the window at the San Dimas Wine Shop on Bonita Ave. reminds patrons that masks are required. Photo: Phil Ebiner

By Layla Abbas

In an informal survey conducted by the San Dimas Community Post, eight people said they would get an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, while seven said they would not.

From the 15 people surveyed, all but one knew someone who had been infected by the coronavirus. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss the request for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Inc. 

If given FDA approval, the vaccine could be used in high-risk populations in the U.S. by the end of December 2020.

For some San Dimas residents, their concerns lay in the safety of an expedited vaccine.

But for one small business manager and grandmother, the stakes are even higher.

“I don’t believe in the flu shot,” Yolanda Mendoza, Chino Hills resident, said. “I got it one time in my life, and I got really sick.” 

“With that being said, I might consider getting the [COVID-19] vaccine. I have someone in my life fighting the virus right now. I also have a 6-year-old granddaughter who I would do anything to be alive and healthy for,” Mendoza added.

In the phase 3 study by Pfizer and BioNTech, the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 95 percent effective against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose. 

Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity. No significant side effects were reported.

Mendoza said people might consider the vaccine because they are “sick and tired of the virus.”

“Some people say the virus is political and not real, and we don’t need it. It is so messed up,” Mendoza continued.

A mother and daughter entering Albertsons together had conflicting views.

Selma Kasfy, San Dimas resident, said both her kids have had the virus, but she still would not get vaccinated.

“No way. It came out really fast. Usually vaccines can take up to 10 years to be FDA approved,” Kasfy said.

Her daughter, Reem Kasfy, said she would take it in hopes of minimizing the spread and boosting immunity.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of travel-related coronavirus in the state of Washington on Jan. 21, the coronavirus has drastically shifted the way people live as the virus continues to spread at a rampant pace. 

With over 11 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 250,000 deaths, the need for an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine has never been more critical. 

Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company, has also developed a potentially viable COVID-19 vaccine. 

Similar to Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine met statistical criteria with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5%. Moderna’s vaccine reported short-lived and moderate side effects. 

A third COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by drugmaker AstraZeneca, has shown highly effective results at a cheaper cost and is easier to store.

San Dimas resident James Rocker, masked outside of a San Dimas Starbucks, said he will bank on good science over fear when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Danielle De Luna

James Rocker, San Dimas resident, said he would without a doubt get the vaccine. “This decision is a matter of my personal health and others around me. I will bank on good science over fear.” 

One Covina resident visiting San Dimas said his decision comes down to his religious beliefs.

“I am a Catholic. If the vaccine, for instance, uses artificial stem cells or something else that contradicts my beliefs, I would have to reconsider,” Guillermo Nadales, Covina resident said.

Marlo Marin, Covina resident and employee at a hair salon in San Dimas, said she would not get the COVID-19 vaccine unless her work made it a requirement. Photo: Danielle De Luna

Marlo Marin, Covina resident and employee at a hair salon in San Dimas, said her decision is a firm no.

“To be honest, I do not trust the government at all right now,” Marin said. “I do work for a small business, so if they wanted me to get it I would consider it. But I would have to do way more research.”

For Bonita High School student Parker Svatos, who was skateboarding in downtown San Dimas, the decision will depend on who says the vaccine is approved.

“I am young and don’t really have a say. If the media said the vaccine is approved, then no; but if the doctor said it, then yes,” Svatos said.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Nov. 21 during a White House press briefing that we need to “put to rest any concept that this was rushed in any inappropriate way.”

“The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity,” Fauci said. “It was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before, so I really want to settle that concern that people have about that.”

The FDA will meet on Dec. 10 with the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to discuss the request for emergency use authorization of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc.

If given FDA approval, the vaccine will likely be distributed to high-risk populations first as defined by the CDC. 

The FDA will livestream their Dec. 10 meeting on the agency’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels; the meeting will also be streamed from the FDA website

1 Comment

  1. Catholics, who are hesitant to get the vaccine based on religious reasons, should know that the Pope has urged everyone to get it; that is was an “ethical duty.”
    He stated:
    “I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine. It is not an option, it is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.”

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