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COVID vaccines 'our greatest protection'

Credit: AFP / Kena Betancur via Getty Images

A real shot in the arm

I’ve dedicated my career in health to providing sound, science-based care for children — including education in health, prevention and care for children and their families. I am appalled to read that medical colleagues have made wildly unfounded and dangerously inaccurate statements regarding the COVID-19 vaccine ["Naysayers rally against COVID shots," Opinion, July 22].

In particular, misinformation from a fellow pediatrician is utterly disturbing and damaging — hurting New York families and our communities’ public health.

Northport pediatrician Lawrence Palevsky’s baseless assertions of future infertility, aborted fetuses and, even inexplicably, "magnetism" from taking the COVID-19 vaccines are baseless. Disseminating these lies are exactly everything this doctor and I are taught to fight against.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and our greatest protection against the virus — including for those at least 12 years old. Those who say otherwise are endangering lives — including those of children. They threaten to slow our progress toward successfully managing this virus as we do with the flu and other preventable infections.

— Dr. Howard Zucker, Albany

The writer is commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

Cajoling, begging and bribing people to get the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t working. It’s time to try something different. Mandate health insurance companies to add surcharges to anyone who refuses the vaccine unless there is a medical reason. If you are a smoker, you already pay higher rates. This should apply to COVID protection, too.

If you don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s your choice. But there will be a penalty. Hospitals spend millions of dollars treating COVID in people who refuse the jab. Our rates already have risen. It’s unfair for those of us who "follow the science" to be penalized by actions of those who don’t.  

— Michael Apo, Bellmore

My wife and I used to eat out every night. As senior citizens who are both vaccinated, we do not deserve to have unvaccinated patrons sitting near us. The editorial board’s suggestion that restaurants and other private business limit service to the vaccinated is both a just and solid way to promote public health safety ["The vaccinated deserve better," Editorial, July 28].

Those who refuse to consider their neighbors and other patrons can eat at home.

— David H. Peirez, Great Neck

To those who claim their "rights" not to get vaccinated or wear masks: What ever happened to "responsibilities"? I brought up my children to know the two go together. During World War II, people responsibly accepted and followed far more onerous rules and restrictions without claiming their "rights." They were patriots.

During the ’40s at the onset of a smallpox pandemic, almost everyone got vaccinated. No pandemic. In the ’50s, the scourge of polio was wiped out with vaccinations. Measles stopped being a major killer because most people have been vaccinated.

Influenza is at least controlled by people getting shots each fall. COVID-19 could fit into that picture. But the longer this pandemic is not controlled, the longer it has the opportunity to mutate and create more resistant strains.

People who follow the advice of non-medical partisans endanger our lives — their proverbial fists hitting our faces. When did people become so self-centered?

— Clare Worthing, Wantagh

Isn’t it weird that while the world is trying to stop prejudice, we are starting a new one — against people who aren’t vaccinated.

— Jeff Ward, Medford

The withholding of full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines has been a "loophole" used by many people to not require vaccinations of all employees, students, et al.

If the Food and Drug Administration gave final approval to the vaccines, it would close the "emergency use" loophole and increase the rate of vaccination.

Why the delay during these times of peril?

— Alan Newman, Bellmore

Perhaps this is too simple, but I feel if you cannot abide by  state university vaccination rules — which are designed to protect you, your loved ones and me — then do not attend a state university school ["Responsibilities and rights about vaccine," Letters, July 23]. That’s your choice.

— Melody S. Jacobs, Smithtown

If you refuse to get vaccinated, you should be treated like a smoker. Smokers can’t spread their smoke on beaches, in ballparks, office buildings, planes, restaurants and other public places.

No vaccine? Prepare to suffer the consequences.

— Jim Collins, Floral Park