Thank you for your the story “COVID-19 exacts a toll in Maine, shouldered largely by the state’s eldest” (Sept. 22).

Hidden in plain site is the fact that the pandemic, which is ravaging our country, is fairly limited to specific populations. COVID mainly kills the elderly and those with other diseases. Ninety-one percent of deaths in Maine are of those over age 60. Ninety-eight percent are of those over age 50. The risk of dying from this disease varies tremendously by age and health status. COVID does not kill everyone equally. Therefore, the cost/benefit analysis of submitting oneself to a new vaccine, with no long-term safety data, also varies by age. For those over 65, the vaccine can be a life-saver and is highly-recommended. For those under 18, much less so. In fact, the World Health Organization has not yet advised those under 18 get vaccinated, saying more research is needed.

I would like to suggest that the messaging from the Center for Disease Control and the media that everyone above age 12 gets vaccinated is not only scientifically unwarranted but has backfired. The insistence that everyone get vaccinated, regardless of age or risk (or even previous infection), feeds into conspiracy theories and creates vaccine resistance.

If the public health messaging was more honest about the differing risk, I think it would be easier to break through and influence those high-risk people (unvaccinated, age 50-plus, Republican leaning) who are currently clogging up the hospitals.

The one-size-fits-all strategy is not working.

Albert Scott
South Portland

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