In his Sept. 5 letter (“COVID vaccine is useless, and Nemitz should know it”), Peter Petersen accuses columnist Bill Nemitz of promulgating what Petersen calls “the big lie” that the COVID vaccine works.

Petersen comes to a contrary conclusion by noting that Israel and the U.S. have similar infection rates per 100,000 population despite a high percent (“85 percent”) of Israel’s population fully vaccinated versus a relatively low rate in the U.S. Ergo, vaccination doesn’t work!

First, Petersen errs by comparing Israel’s percentage of adults who are fully vaccinated with the percentage of all Americans so jabbed: not allowed! The comparable data are Israel’s 60.8 percent of total population and our 53.6 percent. Neither reaches the level cited for herd immunity (70-plus percent). So, Petersen is premature pronouncing such immunity nonexistent.

Second, comparing infection rates across countries ignores the effect of other means to limit infection spread: self-isolation, social distancing, masks, hand-washing. Do other cultures adhere equally to guidelines?

Rather than comparing infection rates (dependent on testing), death rates should yield “harder” numbers. With its somewhat lower rate of vaccination, the U.S. has more than twice the death rate per 100,000 population as Israel, with those deaths overwhelmingly in the unvaccinated.

Last, Petersen claims side effects of the vaccine have not been thoroughly investigated. Short-term side effects have been studied 374 million times! Long-term effects rarely occur with vaccines. The medical community will be vigilant, because that’s how science works. Compared to the impact of COVID (over 600,000 deaths), it’s no contest.

For you and your community, get jabbed.

Steven Zimmerman

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