As the global coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill in March of 2020, scientists and health experts united in the quest to find a cure. For months, we waited with bated breath in the hope that a vaccine would be discovered. As Covid-19 cases continued to climb, it became apparent that life as we once knew it – one where social distancing wasn’t mandatory and masks weren’t required when stepping out in public – would not return until such a vaccine was available and rolled out around the world. There were setbacks and trials that proved unlucky, but finally a vaccine was discovered and now, the rollout has commenced.
But amidst the celebration of the vaccine discovery, there has been growing skepticism surrounding its use. Even celebrities have spoken out about the vaccine, with some claiming it’s nothing more than a conspiracy spiracy. But while you would think such comments prove only laughable, the issue is that many are taking the comments to heart and as more people choose not to get the vaccine, it’s prompted many to speak up about its importance.
On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver stressed the importance of getting the vaccine as soon as possible. Despite the United States having plenty of supply, there’s been a considerable drop-off in vaccine demand as prominent figures like Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson have planted seeds of doubt surrounding its effectiveness and use.
Oliver chose to address the comments by way of a fictional everyman, “Mike from Baltimore” who has yet to get the vaccine, and went on to say: “I know you’ve got this on at the background at work on Monday, so listen to me: Schedule your vaccine, Mike! Don’t say you’re gonna ‘look into it later,’ just Google, ‘Vaccine finder Baltimore,’ it takes seconds…and if you’re thinking, ‘Eh, I’m not sure I need it. Joe Rogan says I’m probably fine.’ Look, it is true, you might not get seriously sick from Covid, or indeed sick at all, but you could still inadvertently pass it to someone who could then die.”
Most of the skepticism surrounding the vaccine rests on the idea that there has been misinformation about what’s actually in the vaccine and false claims that it’s more dangerous than Covid-19 itself. Addressing these concerns, Oliver noted that the vaccine wasn’t actually rushed like most people have claimed, but was instead developed at such efficiency because of the previous decades of research that went into other coronaviruses and Operation Warpspeed. “They took steps that usually happen sequentially and saved time by running them simultaneously, and to be honest I am envious of that level of efficiency,” said Oliver. “I would save so much time every morning if I could shit, shower, shave, eat breakfast, kiss my family, and brush my teeth all at the same time. Unfortunately, I’ve only ever managed to do three of them at once, but I’m so close to that fourth one,” he joked.
Ultimately, the skeptics will continue to doubt the vaccine as long as they continue to read into the misinformation that’s spread in online forums and by word of mouth. The sad reality is that little can be done to change the mind of someone who believes inaccuracies, something Oliver noted in the closing segment of his show. “The truth is, I’m not going to be able to convince the people in your life who are hesitant,” he said. “The person with the best chance of doing that is you. So if you know someone who is worried for whatever reason and you want to convince them otherwise, don’t show them this video – but maybe do try and use some of the information inside it to tell them yourself.”