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Since the rollout of COVID vaccines began four months ago, people have started reporting a new source of friction within immediate and extended families: disagreement, sometimes fierce, about whether or not to get one of the experimental injections.
AARP, the advocacy and service organization focused on the 50-plus age group, calls COVID-19 vaccines “the hottest conversation topic of the year,” suggesting family conversations about the vaccines have the potential to be “emotionally charged,” “frustrating” and “hurtful.”
To date, 28.6% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated. But recent polls suggest those pushing for voluntary population-wide COVID vaccination may soon exhaust the “low-hanging fruit.”
Surveys conducted in March by Kaiser Family Foundation and Monmouth University show at least 20% to 25% of Americans remain resolutely uninterested in getting the shots — even in the face of family pressure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to three experimental vaccines — those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) through its subsidiary Janssen.
Under the extraordinary liability shield granted by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, these vaccine makers enjoy full indemnity against liability for injuries or deaths occurring from COVID vaccines.
The U.S. government is far from a disinterested party in vaccine development. For example, Moderna’s research and development partner is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Moderna benefited from $2.5 billion in federal government funding when developing its vaccine technology, and the company shares joint ownership of royalty-generating vaccine patents with NIAID and National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists — prompting Public Citizen to rename Moderna’s COVID vaccine “the NIH vaccine.”