Texans for Vaccine Choice speaks out about unvaccinated people being blamed for new rise in COVID cases

HOUSTON – This week we’ve heard a lot about the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Harris County and the city of Houston are approaching a combined death toll of 5,000 people.

The fastest way to end the pandemic? Most health experts say more people need a vaccine. The growing anxiety to get vaccinated and end the pandemic is sparking blame and anger towards the unvaccinated.

Former Texans player DeAndre Hopkins inserted himself into the debate on whether to get vaccinated with a tweet that said, “... being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the NFL.”

He deleted the tweet.

Perhaps he felt the heat of losing $22 million if he did leave the NFL, or like many others, maybe he feels pressured from friends, family, employers to get a vaccine.

After all, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, if you end up in the hospital with COVID right now, “you’re there by choice.”

Forty percent of the area is still not vaccinated is left to question whether they’re willing to risk getting COVID with that “I told you so,” looming over their decision. Dr. Hotez lumps most of those unvaccinated into what he calls the anti-science movement.

However, the decision to not get a vaccine should be a personal choice, according to Texans for Vaccine Choice, who say the choice goes beyond political wars.

Director of the organization, Jackie Schlegel, flips the script on Hotez and said, “I could never have imagined treating anybody with such a lack of compassion. Truly, if a family gets a vaccine and their child is injured by that vaccine, I could never in a million years contemplate saying to them ‘well, that’s what happens, vaccines have side effects.’”

Schlegel said her organization, formed in 2015, has always advocated for vaccine choice and medical privacy.

“They want to go into the doctor’s office and have open, honest, candid discussions about if this vaccine is right for them. If it is right for them, which is the best product on the market?” She said.

Right now, all of the products on the market are available through Emergency Use Authorization.

When will the FDA fully approve one or all of them?

President Biden said full approval will happen “quickly.”

Although, historically, it doesn’t happen fast.

Pfizer was the first to apply for full approval, which happened in early May, so some researchers predict full approval might come as early as next year (2022). They say the FDA plans to take their time nitpicking all the data before giving full approval.