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COVID-19 and vaccination fears

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Johnson County’s COVID-19 numbers continue to grow with no apparent end in sight. The omnipresent question is how to slow and potentially stop this threat. Scientists nationwide are working to find a viable vaccine, and reports show that one may be available as soon as late October. However, it seems that local public opinion on these efforts is exceedingly negative.

In a recent Tomahawk poll, 62 percent of participants plan not to take any distributed vaccine. An additional 15 percent are unsure of their plans. Depending on the latter group’s decision, up to 77 percent of polled locals may refuse vaccination.

“I feel like the COVID vaccine has not been tested enough and, therefore, could be unsafe,” Johnson County resident Deborah Dickens explained her views.

Ignoring vaccination opportunities coupled with reported lax mask usage could lead to a dangerous development, especially if health care professionals’ assertion that people can re-contract COVID-19 is true. According to the Mayo Clinic, COVID-19 “antibodies will peak at about 20 to 30 days after symptom onset and then decline,” affecting mild or asymptomatic cases more quickly.

Specialists and healthcare professionals are still trying to figure out this pandemic, but they are progressing. Faster COVID-19 tests are one example of progress. Progress almost always leads to updated guidance, which explains why the TDH changed its definition of an active case at the beginning of September, “significantly lowering the number of active cases on that day and moving forward.”

Johnson County numbers are already climbing. On September 28, Johnson County health officials reported 15 additional cases. These new cases boost the pandemic’s affected county population number to 726 in total, with 112 currently active. Not only that, but the accumulative local case number rose significantly within the past month. Between August 30 and September 28, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 319 additional cases in Johnson County. Keep in mind that these reported cases are almost exclusively after the new and more strict definition of “active case” took effect.

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