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The COVID-19 Vaccine and the “Anti-Vaxx" Movement

By Isabel Pulgarin

Photo Credit to The Guardian

The anti-vaccine movement has been a worldwide controversy for over two centuries but now that a modern global pandemic has hit Americans where it hurts, there are polarized views about the new COVID-19 vaccine, including from students in our own Barry University community.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently battling both misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by radical anti-vaxxers. Conspiracies range from a vaccine laced with a microchip for tracking to a side effect of paralysis.


As for the four patients who developed Bell’s Palsy from the trial of the Pfizer vaccine, it was found to be a coincidence that the patients developed the rare disease which couldn’t have been foreseen, according to PolitiFact, a fact-checking group.


Similarly, Thomas Hope, professor of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told the Chicago Tribune that there is no technology in existence that could create microchips small enough to be inserted through the needles used for the vaccine. Even if the technology did exist, said Hope, they would have to somehow be universal to work for the multiple vaccines created by separate companies.

Photo Credit to BBC

Most recently, the National Vaccine Information Center found that a handful of deaths in Europe were directly caused by COVID-19 vaccinations, despite evidence resulting the cause of death due to pre-existing conditions.


Willima Nguyen, a freshman studying adverting and public relations, is wary about it.

“When [the vaccine] becomes available, I’m not going to get it right away. Probably a couple of months later because I’m skeptical. I want to see how things play out,” said Nguyen. “It’s new. Of course, we all have questions about it, but it is mostly about the symptoms.”


On the other side of the spectrum is Andrew Martinez, a junior transfer Photography student who is one of 30,000 participants in the Novavax Phase 3 Trial.


Martinez has gotten three out of the 12 shots for the trial, having started in late December at the Veterans Affairs in Miami.


“I feel good,” he said.


He is going to get his fourth shot sometime in late March but he is not wary of any side effects due to his military background which he believes prepared him for his decision.

Photo Credit to Pharmaphorum

“I did 20 years in the Navy and I deployed six times, so I gave my life to the government since the age of 25 to 44,” he said.


Now, at the age of 49, Martinez has pre-existing conditions and grandchildren to think about along with the rest of the world. Thirteen members of his family have gotten COVID-19 at least once, he said.


“I wasn’t raised to be sel