Vaccines have never been fully accepted.

It’s nothing new to hear some Americans are against receiving a coronavirus vaccine. If anything, history has shown many skeptics over the years.

But vaccines have evolved since their creation.

Current reasonings to skip out on a vaccine for COVID-19 — an illness that has killed more than 282,000 Americans — are plain foolish and selfish.

Humans across the world began toying with immunizations as early as the 1600s. Edward Jenner from the late 1700s, though, is most widely known as the founder of immunology. He heard tales that dairymaids once infected with cowpox were naturally protected from smallpox, so he treated a young boy with fresh cowpox matter from a dairymaid’s infected wound. Sure enough, the boy developed resistance to smallpox.

Personally, I wouldn’t want someone slicing open my arm and filling it with pus — yes, that is essentially what the process was like — so I understand the initial skepticism. From incisions to needles, though, vaccines have changed in their delivery methods over the years. And yet the pushback is still there.

Why?

For one, there are debates about long-term effects.

Take note of the anti-vaxxers who believe vaccines cause autism, which has been deemed false by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We don’t know what the coronavirus vaccine will do 20 years down the road, but we also don’t know what having and recovering from COVID-19 will do 20 years down the road, either.

And there’s also the chance the virus kills you.

The toss-up — potential future health issues or possible death?

Recently, there have been rumors that a coronavirus vaccine will inject microchips into American citizens’ bodies, giving feds the power to track us.

I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t “The Matrix.”

Is it plausible to believe millions of dollars would be spent on implanting tracking devices when we already have a signal glued to our hands 24/7 in the form of cell phones? So, if the government did want to track us, why on earth would there be a need to implement a vaccine to do what our phones are already doing?

As we’ve seen, having COVID-19 once does not make someone immune to the virus. While “herd immunity” sounds like a plan, it also means a lot of people have to die. If there’s an easier option to avoid rampant death, we should choose it.

Remember: vaccines are effective. Look at measles. In the decade prior to a vaccine being introduced, there were between 400,000 and 800,000 cases of the disease annually in the U.S. After the vaccine, that number dropped to about 25,000 in 1986. By 2000, The CDC declared measles “eliminated” from the U.S.

It’s incredible that modern medicine and technology have advanced to this point. It took about 10 years to develop the measles vaccine — it only one year to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Consider that for a moment.

Look at how far we’ve come. It’s a blessing, really, considering the gravity of the ongoing pandemic. The vaccine will help us to move toward “eradicating” the virus, although how long that will take, we don’t know yet.

Remember, though, all viruses thrive on live hosts. If we leave the coronavirus an opportunity to manifest in unvaccinated individuals, it will continue to grow and adapt. Widespread vaccination is the only real way to stop this pandemic quickly and efficiently.

The sooner we administer the vaccine, the faster we can move past this year. We’re all tired of the masks and social distancing. And I know I’m ready to hug my grandparents again without worry.

So, please, just take the shot when it becomes available. Avoiding it will only stretch out the pandemic — and all that goes along with it — for longer.