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What are the Risks? COVID-19 vs. Vaccination

Don't miss the boat! Get vaccinated, stay healthy, and keep fishing.

Every fishing trip is a calculated risk. You balance the costs and risks of fishing against the potential rewards of a successful trip and you do what you can to tip the odds in your favor.

Right now, everyone in the country is taking a calculated risk on whether or not they are going to get sick or seriously ill with COVID-19. How do the risks of illness with COVID-19 stack up against the risks of getting vaccinated? How do you tip the odds of staying healthy in your favor?

COVID-19 Risks

We'll cut to the chase and start by saying the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 are much higher than any risks of an adverse reaction to the vaccines. Here's some data to support that.

A recent study by the CDC found that you are 5x more likely to become infected with COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated. The same study found that of 615,454 cases, 92% of cases were unvaccinated. 34,984 of those cases went on to hospital and 92% of those cases were unvaccinated, as well.

6,748 cases resulted in death and the unvaccinated made up 91% of that group. If you're going to catch COVID, it sure looks like you will want to be vaccinated.

According to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review, as of September 17, the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases is 146,182. The 7-day average for hospitalizations is 11,165. That works out to an 8% chance of winding up in the hospital or nearly a 1-in-10. Yikes!

The 7-day average for deaths was 1,448 or 1% of the average new cases. However, keep in mind that deaths is a lagging indicator, due to the duration of the illness. That means if we are seeing a surge in cases (we are), deaths will continue to increase even after surge plateaus or declines.

That's starting to make going unvaccinated look like a poor bet. But, what if you're young and healthy? Aren't you less likely to get sick? Yes, the odds of serious disease are lower if you are not 65 or older, not obese, not diabetic, don't smoke and don't have heart disease, cancer, or any of a number of other health conditions.

We know a lot of lot of fishermen who have one or more of those conditions and we bet you do, too. But, even if you are a perfect specimen of youth and good health, keep in mind that 70% of cases are occurring among the 18-49 age group. That's the prime of any fisherman's career and keep in mind that 1 in 4 COVID-19 cases experience long-term conditions, like dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath, that can affect your ability to fish long after you have recovered from the infection.

Vaccination Risks

So what about the risks of getting vaccinated? That's pretty risky too, isn't it? Actually, not so much.

Many experience no side effects and some people report swelling or soreness at the injection site or fever, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, or nausea. Pretty minor stuff.

In the U.S. more than 380 million doses of vaccine have been administered and while some side-effects have been loudly reported in the media, it turns out that serious side effects are rare.

One serious side-effect is anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that can occur with many vaccines. This occurs in 2-5 individuals per million and it's readily treatable. It usually occurs within 15 minutes of vaccination and vaccination clinics keep the medication for treating this reaction on hand.

There are other serious side-effects that you may have heard about, like a thrombosis mostly affecting women younger than 50 who received the Johnson & Johnson shot, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, mostly affecting men over 50 who received the Johnson & Johnson shot, and myocarditis and pericarditis, affecting people younger than 30 who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots. All of these conditions are rare. The risks associated with the vaccines are far outweighed by the health risks of catching COVID-19 while unvaccinated.

The Bottom Line

COVID-19 is a serious disease with the potential to disrupt your fishing season or end your career. Fortunately, there are vaccines available that can prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 and that can greatly improve your health outcome, if you do become infected. Best of all it’s free! Tip the odds in your favor. Use our Vaccine Finder to find your vaccination and safeguard your health and your fishing career by getting the shot.

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