I want my grandparents to know that the vaccine’s pros outweigh its cons.
As my grandparents are over 70 years old, they have priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from February onwards. But it doesn’t seem to matter to them; they don’t want to take the vaccine anyway.
When I asked my grandparents – who I got closer to after moving in with them during the circuit breaker – why they did not want the vaccine, they said they seldom left the house, so they were not as exposed to the virus compared to others.
My grandfather, who claims that he will die in a few years, also said that he didn’t need the “extra protection” since he won’t be around for much longer.
My grandparents aren’t the only ones who are hesitant about the vaccine – a survey conducted by YouGov showed that 19 per cent of Singaporeans do not wish to take it.
While I understand my grandparents’ reasons, I still wish they would take the vaccine. Here are some reasons why I am persuading them to take the vaccine.
While my grandmother is afraid of possibly detrimental side effects to the vaccine, she is ironically also scared of the COVID-19 virus. Since the vaccine is proven to have a 95 per cent efficacy rate, taking it will quell her fears of contracting the virus.
Furthermore, the Health Sciences Authority has assessed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine meets safety and efficacy standards. No major adverse effects of the vaccine have been observed, so she does not have to worry about that.
My grandparents live in an area populated with so many elderly that their neighbourhood was one of the first to receive the TraceTogether token.
If they choose not to take the vaccine, they might be putting those other seniors at risk.
Furthermore, taking the vaccine will also help my grandparents protect their loved ones.
As my cousins have asthma, they may experience more severe symptoms if they were to contract COVID-19. I also have a rather weak immune system and would likely experience similar effects if I were to contract the virus.
Although my grandparents may not think it is important to protect themselves, I am sure they would wish to protect their grandchildren by taking the vaccine.
My grandfather is notoriously thrifty and never likes to spend any money on himself, even refusing to be admitted to the hospital to avoid incurring medical bills.
However, he does not have to worry about spending a single cent on the COVID-19 vaccines, as they will be free for all Singaporeans.
With the onset of COVID-19, things didn’t really change for my grandparents, as they previously only left the house twice a week to get groceries.
However, they were affected by the restrictions for the number of visitors per household.
Currently, the Phase Three rules state that each household can receive up to eight visitors from two households per day – but my grandparents have a total of nine immediate family members, which means one person has to be left out every time.
If more people take the vaccine, there will be a higher population coverage and restrictions for visitors could be eased further. Finally, we might be able to have a complete family reunion.
I realise I’m lucky that my grandparents are in a position where they can make such medical decisions by themselves. I’m also grateful that they are healthy enough that they can choose to reject the vaccine.
Still, I want them to know that taking the vaccine will be worth it – scary as it may seem, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Finally, while this may be a selfish reason, I want to spend more time with my grandparents while they are fairly healthy. If the vaccine can provide that, I will never stop encouraging them to take it.
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