“Age and Vaccine Acceptance?”

I was talking with a friend the other day and reflecting on the widespread acceptance of covid vaccine in people my age–over 65. In fact in Connecticut nearly 80% of adults over 65 have completed two rounds of vaccine and over 90% have had the first shot. Clearly the vaccine resistance prevalent in pockets of the United States is missing among my peers.

My first inoculation was a series of needle pricks on my upper thigh to prevent smallpox. I still sport the scar. I was also able to be prevented from diptheria and tetanus. Those were all that were available. As kids we got “hard” measles, German measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, mumps. Most of us came out from those illnesses with just pock marks from the “I told you not to scratch” remnants of the chicken pox. However both my brother and I had very high fevers with measles including hallucinations, a terrifying experience. The German measles, given to our pregnant moms, produced babies often deaf and blind. And some adults my age have the second round of polio effects, having survived the initial disease only to be further damaged later in life.

We rejoiced at the covid vaccine, remembering the relief our mothers felt as they took us to the mass distribution sites to receive out polio preventive on a sugar cube. We were glad that our children didn’t have to suffer the childhood diseases we endured.

I think that many young adults have no idea how devastating illnesses can be. Some are quite cavalier about not inoculating their own children against “minor childhood diseases.” And they dismiss the covid vaccine, certain that it is unnecessary. The percentage of younger adults remaining unvaccinated here reflects this belief.

Is that true where you live also?

42 thoughts on ““Age and Vaccine Acceptance?”

  1. We grew up knowing children and adults who had suffered the ravaging effects of polio. We knew relatives and friends who had lived in sanatoria for months on end and had to spend hours, days, weeks, and months, in iron lungs. We saw the effects of German measles. We knew those who were given the terminal diagnosis of Aids before effective drugs were produced. Many people seem to think that Covid 19 is all over now that vaccines are being taken up so widely. Unfortunately there is still time for the global situation to get completely out of hand and devastate the world. I pray that it does not!

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  2. My stepson is refusing the vaccine. (He’s 36) He doesn’t believe Covid 19 exists, and considers it all to be a ‘control mechanism’ by world governments. Of course, in our youth we did not have Social Media to spread such conspiracy theories. Like you, I had Polio and Smallpox vaccines. I almost died as a baby from Scarlet Fever, and many children my age were killed by illnesses such as Diptheria and Measles.
    The confidence (and arrogance) of the young might be considered by some to be ‘brave’. It could also be considered to be irresponsibly childish.
    (I had my second dose of Astra-Zeneca last Wednesday.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. I forgot scarlet fever and rheumatic fever too. I benefited from penicillin even though it was injected in an enormous dose straight into my behind. My grandfather was deaf from mastoiditis , untreatable in his youth. My best friend’s mother had heart damage from rheumatic fever.

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  3. I think you have made a very valid point here, Elizabeth…”I think that many young adults have no idea how devastating illnesses can be. Some are quite cavalier about not inoculating their own children against “minor childhood diseases.” And they dismiss the covid vaccine, certain that it is unnecessary. “ Younger adults won’t have lived through childhood diseases as we did, and also would have been too young to live through the early days of AIDS, when there were no effective treatments. So it is seriously worrying that there is a section of society with no intention of being vaccinated.

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  4. I nodded my head as I read this post, because I was ‘there’ like you, getting vaccinated as a child and fully aware of the horrors of disease. My brother had hard measles (young people don’t know what that is), my sister had mumps and chicken pox at the same time, and nearly lost her eyesight. My best friend had a light case of polio…on and on. I wonder if young people today don’t feel a Covid vaccination is important because those who get the disease are mostly old people. That’s the difference in then and now. They feel immune because they’re young. That’s a sad reason for not getting vaccinated.

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    1. Here they have made a point of the younger adults getting grievously ill. The aftereffects seem quite dreadful, leaving younger people with permanent heart and lung damage. And they are going to need their hearts and lungs a lot longer than we are!

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  5. I’m astounded how many people claim they think the Johnson and Johnson temporary stoppage is proof we should not be getting the vaccine. Like the alternative is so much better?

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  6. Really interesting. I certainly know ‘younger adults’ who have had the vaccine, and welcomed it, but the vast majority of people I know are in their 50s – one or two in their 40s. The person I know who is most resistant to it but who is also extremely right wing, thought Trump was great, etc. etc., is in his mid-80s… he doesn’t feel it’s been tested enough (despite the billions of £/€/$ thrown into research). I thought it was interesting to hear that Oxford University has finally found an effective malaria vaccine – it’s taken decades, whereas because of the scale of Covid far greater resources have been available to develop vaccines quickly. And, perhaps, our knowledge and understanding of vaccines is that much greater now too.

    I did wonder about MMR for my kids but having researched it decided it would be remiss not to get them vaccinated. I do still worry about mercury being used as a carrier – but then I have mercury in my fillings, and haven’t gone mad yet… (though I’d rather it wasn’t there).

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    1. I imagine the real threats are from the chemicals in plastics which are impossible to avoid. We usually find these things out way down the road. What a joy about the malaria vaccine. I suppose if malaria had decimated the US there would have been a stronger push to find one sooner.

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  7. I remember getting the polio vaccine on a sugar cube as a child, and being immunised against German measles at school when I was 13. I also remember there was some controversy over the MMR vaccine, which caused a reduced uptake, and a second cousin of mine remains convinced it gave her children epilepsy. Who knows? Nobody. It’s all a case of personal choice whether or not to be vaccinated.

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  8. I’m old enough to have had the poilo vaccination first as a jab.
    Here in the UK it’s apparently the children of black and asian communities that are suspicious of the covid jab and discouraging their parents from having it. There have been covid-deniers demonstrating outside hospitals until quite recently – hopefully, by now many of them have caught it and know better – natural selection.
    I rather thought the medical staff should have invited the demonstrators in for a tour of the covid wards but I suppose that’s politically incorrect of me.

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    1. Here it is more that poorer neighbors have less access to the online sign up process. Now they are sending mobile vans out. Our town did a reverse 911 call(my town has many poor inhabitants)announcing a two day walk in clinic no appointment needed. I am impressed with the outreach.

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  9. Half of the UK population has now had at least one jab but of course that is the older half. Of the young people that I know, all are having the vaccine to my knowledge. Those I know who are refusing it seem to buy in to the conspiracy theories and also fear that there has been insufficient time for thorough testing.

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  10. I had pertussis (whooping cough) when I was a child, and that is some nasty stuff. And I was lucky; there were kids who died from it. I suspect parents who don’t want their kids vaccinated have no idea just how bad some of these “routine childhood illnesses” can get.

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  11. Younger people, middle aged and older, I’ve met or heard about some from all age groups. I tell them what all my docs tell me, get the shot as soon as you can. I got polio shots and an oral vaccine. As it a cube? I’ve forgotten.

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  12. I remember the times past you are talking about Elizabeth, it was similar here in Australia.
    Although the Chickenpox vaccine didn’t get here until 1995, after my daughters had sadly all contracted Chickenpox.
    One quite badly. Which in her adult life has lead to Shingles a very painful condition from the Chickenpox virus being reactivated in adulthood but affects the body differently in the adult.

    There hasn’t been a lot of discussion here about not receiving the CoVid vaccination amongst the younger generation.
    Unfortunately, we are behind the rest of the world in the CoVid vaccination roll out because of the blockade by the EU delaying the supply that our Government had already purchased…
    The available vaccinations that have reached Australia from other global suppliers have been used within the category phases set by our Federal Government so that’s a good sign. And those phases have all differing age groups within them. 😀
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  13. Agree, because these people have no idea what it is like for a society to be riddled with disease, they take the vaccines for granted. They think it is optional. Wow. What a mindset. I am glad some people there have received complete covid vaccinations and are more receptive. Here, there are no vaccines and we envy places where it is available.

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  14. Here, many are taking the vaccine but I am not sure about people of the low income group. I read in an article recently that a very, very small percentage of Indians have got the vaccination. We have taken the first dose. Take care.

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  15. I totally agree with you. But here in Alabama, only a third of the population has been vaccinated. Too many conspiracy theorist exist that, frankly, spout ignorance in an effort to not only prevent their family and friends from being vaccinated but anyone within ear shot. I find them all to be pretty intolerable if I am being honest.

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