KSL INVESTIGATES

KSL Investigates: Will The Hope Of A COVID-19 Vaccine Be Derailed By Mistrust?

Apr 23, 2020, 10:34 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:57 pm
FILE: Flu vaccine....
FILE: Flu vaccine.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Scientists around the world are working on a vaccine to fight COVID-19, hoping to get us out of this pandemic.

Doctors believe it will save lives. But when it’s finally created, will you take the vaccine?

There is a growing concern that not enough people will get the shot. To give you a little context, the Department of Health and Human Services reports less than 45% of adults get the recommended flu vaccine each year. That number would need to be much higher to stop the worldwide pandemic.

Numbers Game

Since the beginning of this pandemic, it has been a numbers game: The number infected, the number of deaths, the number hospitalized, the number of masks, the numbers on Wall Street and the number of lost jobs.

And how about the number of months waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine, potentially protecting millions around the world.

“Yeah, that’s the loaded million-dollar question,” said Dr. Todd Vento, a physician with Intermountain Healthcare specializing in infectious diseases.

Similar comments from Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatrics and also an infectious diseases specialist with University of Utah Health.

KSL Investigator talks with Dr. Andrew Pavia & Dr. Todd Vento.

“The best minds in the world in science are working on it,” he said.

It can take more than a decade to develop a vaccine. Even fast-tracked, it could be 12-to-18 months before we see a working vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Two doctors. Both specializing in infectious diseases.

Both made it clear, this future vaccine will not save lives — people taking the vaccine will.

“That’s why we have children receive so many vaccines from the time they’re born, even into teenage years,” Vento said. “Because they work.”

“Our only acceptable tool in the long run is to develop effective vaccines,” Pavia added.

The World Health Organization backs up those statements, testifying vaccines have been one of the biggest success stories of modern medicine. The WHO estimates at least 10 million deaths were prevented between 2010 and 2015, because of vaccinations around the world.

Pavia said the novel coronavirus is no different. Vaccination is key.

“There’s a real danger that anti-vaxxers pose by creating a false narrative of danger around vaccine,” he said.

Fast Track Fears

“A vaccine for it? No. No, I wouldn’t,” said Kristen Chevrier. “I would not use a coronavirus vaccine.”

Chevrier is co-founder of a group based out of Utah County called “Your Health Freedom,” and if you label her an anti-vaxxer, she said there’s a misconception.

KSL Investigator Mike Headrick talks with Kristen Chevrier.

“Most people who are anti-vaxxers are ex-vaxxers,” she said. “When you call someone an anti-vaxxer, you have no idea what their history is.”

Chevrier said the reason her group was created is to educate people in making informed health decisions. Some of those informed health decisions focus on vaccines.

“There has never been a safe or effective vaccine for a coronavirus,” she said. “The last one they tried didn’t work out very well.”

Chevrier was referring to the outbreaks of SARS and MERS. In both cases, the research on vaccines ended after the epidemics fizzled out.

And she’s not wrong. Research showed animal trials for a SARS vaccine were plagued by a phenomenon known as “vaccine-induced enhancement.”

Simply put, the mice showed even worse symptoms after being injected.

Chevrier feared fast-tracking a new vaccine could be unsafe, and she certainly doesn’t believe people should be pressured into getting the shot.

“We feel like everybody deserves to make that choice because you will live with the consequences,” Chevrier said. “Nobody else is going to live with the consequences.”

Herd Immunity

Most in the medical field will say that statement is simply not true.

Decades of scientific studies and research have proven and continue to prove, vaccinations protect the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

It’s called herd immunity.

When most of the population is immune to an infectious disease, it provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease.

“The decision to not to get vaccinated for highly communicable disease affects not only the person making the choice but others around them,” said Pavia. “As a community, we depend on a high level of vaccine coverage to protect everyone. There are people who cannot get a vaccine or do not respond, and when there are a large number of unvaccinated people in the community, an infectious disease can spread and impact them.”

Pavia said we see this every time there’s a measles outbreak. Those who bear the worst impact are infants and people with cancer.

In order to wipe out COVID-19 in the United States, he said 80% of the population needs immunity.

Pavia believed the safest way to get there with the least number of casualties is vaccination.

“You have to also admit that a very safe vaccine will still have very rare side effects that we have to be honest about and admit,” said Pavia. “But with all vaccines, the question is what’s worse? A disease that kills one out of a hundred people, or a side effect that happens in one out of 10 million? The answer is pretty obvious.”

Herd Immunity: Part 2

“Let’s talk for a minute about herd immunity,” said Scott Bradley. “Herd immunity is a naturally occurring event.”

Bradley represents the group “Defending Utah.”

Their website defines them as “an organization working to expose those conspiring to take away your freedom and educate citizens on the principles of liberty.”

Bradley believes herd immunity should not be forced through vaccinations. He said the world can achieve that goal naturally, letting the at-risk population self-quarantine if they so choose and letting the immune systems of the healthy protect the rest.

“Herd immunity with this virus and everything else that comes along will happen naturally through just the events we bump into every day of our lives,” he said.

“God gave us an immune system,” said Bradley. “It needs practice and it does what it does best when it’s out and about existing in the mortal world we’ve been given.”

The Trust Factor

Bradley’s opinion is one medical experts believe would overwhelm hospitals.

An opinion history shows would claim an unnecessary number of lives and an opinion the families of nearly 175,000 now dead from COVID-19 may disagree with.

“The more we have people unwilling to trust vaccines, unwilling to get them, the longer it will take to really control the disease,” said Pavia.

And as the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, the race for a vaccine moves forward.

When will it safely be completed?

Well, that’s the big question.

But maybe the bigger question, is how many people will get vaccinated? An Emerson College Poll conducted last month shows a majority of Americans (66%) said that if there was a vaccine for coronavirus, they would take it. Another 11% said they would refrain from taking a vaccine, while 23% were still unsure.

“In my opinion, it would not make sense to not use it,” Vento said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

KSL’s Matt Gephardt fuels up his minivan to determine how much gas Google Maps’ eco-friendly ro...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Can Google’s eco-friendly routes really save you gas money?

Gas prices have edged down from their record highs, but they are still a far cry from being affordable for many Utah families. So, when Google rolled out a new feature for its Maps navigation app that says it can save you money on gas by using suggested eco-friendly routes, the KSL Investigators decided to put it to the test.
22 hours ago
FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
4 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
7 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
8 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
14 days ago
FILE PHOTO...
Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigates: How is Utah’s new self-defense law impacting justice?

Is a new Utah self-defense law improving our justice system or leading to unintended consequences? The KSL Investigators analyzed a full year of cases.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
KSL Investigates: Will The Hope Of A COVID-19 Vaccine Be Derailed By Mistrust?