VOICES: Learn about the COVID-19 vaccines, ask questions and get the shot

Kevin Sharrett/Contributed
Kevin Sharrett/Contributed

Originally appeared in Farm and Dairy, Aug. 12, 2021

Farmers put up with a lot of misinformation about modern agriculture. There are numerous articles on the many misconceptions that exist. Talk with just about any farmer and he or she will welcome discussions about safe and abundant food production and the groceries you buy, land and environmental protection, treatment of livestock, and the labor force that gets products from the field to your table.

Advancements in agricultural technology have happened because farmers and ag scientists continually invest in discovery. Ohio is blessed to have some of the world’s largest universities and research institutions leading the way in the progress of farming. The annual Farm Science Review near London showcases the latest technologies that enable farmers to better grow grains and livestock, preserve land, and protect the environment.

With science, farming is constantly advancing. And farmers believe in the sciences that drive improved practices for soil, water and animal management. Many farmers I know will fiercely defend their hard work and conscientious approach to their profession.

I see this same attitude when applied to medical science. An incredible thing happened during the past year. As the world responded to a worldwide pandemic, the bioscience world produced three safe, effective vaccines that will greatly reduce more sickness and death from COVID-19 and help us get back to the life we remember.

The vaccines are an incredible accomplishment. They were made possible by a collaborative effort that started 20 years ago on another strain of coronavirus and included the largest clinical trial effort in world history. Ohioans of all ages were participants in some of these trials. The federal government cut red tape and enabled bioscience companies and research institutions to make vaccines possible, as soon as possible.

My hope is for more people in our rural communities to accept the vaccines and the medical science that made them possible, just as they accept the science that advances agriculture.

It is understandable that many people have questions about the new vaccines. Every question matters. These vaccines were developed and tested in a short amount of time, and it makes sense that we carefully consider whether or not to take the shot.

There are many experts who can help with questions, including local pharmacists, family doctors and nurses. These medical professionals are the best people to answer questions about the vaccine. Many health providers have followed the progression, and know how the COVID-19 vaccines were developed and tested, and can speak to safety and effectiveness.

Here are a few important things to know about the vaccines:

  • They do not contain any sort of microchip or tracking device.
  • There is zero chance they can change your body’s DNA or genetic makeup.
  • There is no evidence that COVID vaccines cause infertility.
  • You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccines, they do not contain the live virus.

Why should you choose to be vaccinated now? The highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading across the country, and choosing to be vaccinated now will prevent the spread as we approach cooler weather this fall. Being vaccinated will also help protect those 11 and younger, who can’t get a COVID-19 vaccine yet, such as friends, siblings, neighbors, cousins or fellow students riding the school bus this fall.

Just as the United States is a leader in farming technologies, our nation led the way to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. I urge you to learn all you can about the vaccine, ask questions, and find out if this protection is right for you.

If you would like to get a vaccine or learn more, please visit https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/

Kevin Sharrett is a farmer and family medicine and primary care doctor with the Kettering Physicians Network