Ward Stone

A case for vaccination against COVID-19
Thursday, January 7, 2021 – 18:28
To the Editor:

Come on, people, get your vaccination against the coronavirus as soon as possible. As I write this, it is reported that the United States’ coronavirus cases exceed 20 million and that mortalities of people exceed 350,000. It is expected to go much higher with the limited control put into effect at this point in the United States. The vaccinations offer a turn-around and can save potentially thousands of human lives in the United States alone.

Why take the vaccine?

It will personally protect you from the coronavirus whether or not the American population has “herd immunity.”

Look at all the good we have had with smallpox, measles, and polio that would have not taken place without vaccinations. Rabies would have resulted in thousands of individuals dying annually but, because of the vaccinations of pets, and the immunity that is available through vaccinations, we have had very low mortality from rabies in the United States. We have a good system of diagnosis and vaccination.

It is hard to come up with any evidence against vaccinations. It is, on a whole, mostly positive. It does not mean that individuals have not died from severe allergic reactions. We need to note those reactions and treat that allergy. But, overall, huge amounts of people will be saved from death.

What are my qualifications for making a recommendation for the vaccination? I am an honorably discharged U.S. Navy corpsman, proud of my service. In addition to usual corpsman training, I spent 15 months on assignment at the U.S. Navy Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland. I assisted in human autopsy and am trained in clinical pathology as well as medical laboratory techniques.

In addition, I have undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse University, and a graduate degree from the State University of New York. I held for 41 years the competitive Civil Service position of wildlife pathologist in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

I dealt with viral diseases such as duck plague, canine distemper, and rabies. I, with the aid of nurses from the Department of Civil Service, maintained continuous protection of myself and unit personnel against rabies.

I was the first to identify West Nile Virus in the western hemisphere. It was confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the United State Animal Disease Laboratory in Aimes, Iowa.

We should be watching and diagnosing any unusual mortalities of wildlife that indicate they could be caused by the same coronavirus we are studying in people. We need to find out where the coronavirus originated. It is a zoonotic disease that is thought to have originated from wildlife, perhaps bats in Wuhan, China, but other wildlife is also plausible.

We need to put an end to human morality from coronavirus in the United States by vaccinations, but we also need to see the disease is attacked around the world with vaccinations for everyone who wants them. And whether the country can afford it or not, there should be a cooperative effort with the United Nations and other international organizations to see people of all socio-economic backgrounds can be vaccinated around the world.

We should study zoonotic diseases and we expect with viruses that this will not be the last time a virus starts in another part of the world and ends in a different part of the world. Modern travel, rapid trade, and a huge human population means that diseases can spread quicker than ever before, and I would predict that they will continue to do so. Zoonotic diseases will continue to spread around the Earth.

We need cooperation around the Earth on the control of diseases and we should be working together. This is a common area of concern in which all countries around the world should be involved, and certainly we need to renew our strength in the United Nations in this area, but also expand that capability with countries in general.

We have a great opportunity, along with going into the Paris Climate Accord again, to take on global environmental problems that are already leading to chaos, and take on these issues as a joint venture with all nations of the world, to try to bring the people on this planet to work more closely together to keep the Earth and its people and animals healthy and happy.

We should work with the other countries of the world that have produced vaccines to get them distributed for use provided they are safe and have good efficacy. And, if American industry is unable to do that, other countries should be encouraged to expand their productivity and ensure that, wherever the vaccine is needed, there is a supply readily available.

The vaccine has been rather slow in application, indicating that America needs a lot of smoothing out in mass disease problems and pandemic infrastructure.

Ward Stone