As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the province, Kipling residents John and Jeannette Gall said they will not be getting the vaccine.
“I eat healthy, I take my vitamins, I exercise and I work, why do I need a vaccine?” said John Gall.
Gall is a farmer from southeast Saskatchewan who avoids medications whenever he can. Gall and his wife, Jeannette, are in their 70s and have received vaccinations in the past, but the COVID-19 vaccine concerns them.
“My wife and I have so many questions,” said Gall. “How can a safe vaccine be developed in such a short amount of time? And why are there so many types?
“I worry about the side effects of the vaccine and what it could do to my own immunity.”
Four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada, a department of the federal government responsible for national health policy. Every vaccine and drug available in Canada must first be approved by this department.
“In order for a vaccine to be approved it must go through laboratory and clinical trials,” said Dr. Dennis Kendel, a Saskatoon Physician who specializes in Health Policy.
“The COVID-19 vaccine has gone through the same safety protocols as any other vaccine or drug tested in the past.”
Canada has currently accepted vaccines from four private companies: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Only Johnson & Johnson does not require two doses.
According to the Government of Saskatchewan the vaccination may cause mild side effects. Side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever, headache, body chills and lack of energy. Any side effects should go away after a few days.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has an approved age limit of 55-64 and all the vaccines have not been approved for those under 18 years old because children were not included in the clinical trial. According to Kendel, clinical trials with children are now underway.
“My symptoms were mild,” said Enid LaRonge, an 80-year-old woman from Kipling who received the Pfizer vaccine March 30.
“I had a sore arm a day after my shot but it was gone after a few days. I had no fear getting it, it has been tested like any other vaccine we have had in the past.”
Seniors and health care workers were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine. Two Saskatchewan health care workers shared their positive experiences. Read more here: http://ink.urjschool.ca/sask-healthcare-workers-reflect-on-covid-19-vaccine-experience/
“My worry goes beyond the safety of the vaccine,” said Gall. “I believe these vaccines are a big money-making scheme for manufacturing companies.
“If people are so concerned about people’s health, why are they not giving it away the vaccine for pennies? Instead they are all making billions of dollars and the government is going along with it.”
According to Kendel, Canada does not currently have a public laboratory with the capacity to make a mass amount of vaccines. This has caused the government to turn to the private market. Many of Canada’s vaccines and drugs come from privately owned companies. Private companies have their own procedures, but the Canadian government has the final say if a vaccine license is granted.
Despite Gall and his wife refusing the vaccine, the province announced a record daily amount of doses 13,170 on April 11, according to a tweet from the Government of Saskatchewan; 282,065 shots have been administered.
(20) Government of Saskatchewan on Twitter: “COVID-19 Update, April 11: New Record 13,170 Vaccinations, 282,065 Vaccines Administered, 321 New Cases, 198 Recoveries, 199 in Hospital,1 New Death Current 7-Day Average: 249 (20.3 new cases / 100,000) Full details: https://t.co/Yqh1qYHKf2 Dashboard: https://t.co/kvBuGtZGWW https://t.co/lN2cspxaF0” / Twitter
“Vaccination is an individual choice but has great societal impact,” said Kendel. “Hesitancy has the potential prevent immunity, causing the virus to linger for much longer.”
Walk-in and drive-thru immunization clinics are offered across the province. Here is what to expect at Regina’s drive-thru clinic: