The total number of these instances we’re seeing still remains thankfully small as compared to the total number of vaccinations being given, but it’s still probably a trend to keep an eye on. In Chicago, yet another medical center suspended COVID vaccinations after four healthcare workers fell ill after being vaccinated. None of the reactions appeared to be life-threatening and three of the four are “resting at home” and apparently doing well. A fourth worker was still receiving additional treatment yesterday. (CBS Chicago)

Advocate Condell Medical Center has suspended COVID-19 vaccinations after four employees experienced reactions shortly after receiving the vaccine, according to a statement from Advocate Aurora Health.

Since Thursday four team members experience reactions, including tingling and elevated heart rate.

The four team members represent less than .15% of the approximately 3,000 people who have received the vaccine across Advocate Aurora Health so far.

A statement from the medical center described the decision to halt vaccinations as one that was made out of “an abundance of caution.” That sounds about right, particularly since they didn’t stop the procedure at their eight other outlets across the region.

This means that of the roughly 3,000 people that Advocate Aurora Health has vaccinated thus far, four of them have had adverse, but not critical negative reactions so far. That works out to a little more than one-tenth of one percent of patients who ran into an issue with allergic reactions or other complications. This pattern isn’t dissimilar to the issue I wrote about the other day. 0.1 percent is certainly a small fraction, but when you apply that to the roughly 300 million people who are expected to be vaccinated in the coming months in the United States, we can expect somewhere in the range of between 400,000 to half a million people to encounter this issue.

Among that half a million, it’s almost certain that we’ll see some number of worst-case scenarios where the reaction is very severe, if not fatal. But the thing is, that’s still such a low number that the government can’t afford to simply throw up its hands and put a halt to the program. The cost of not vaccinating everyone who is willing to take the shot would undoubtedly be massively higher than pushing forward. Every time a new drug is rolled out and put into wide distribution, there are always some number of patients who develop problems that didn’t show up during the product’s development and test trials.

But it’s that phrase “everyone who is willing to take the shot” that I keep coming back to. How many stories like this one will we need to see before people start losing confidence and deciding not to do it? Keep in mind that I’m asking this question as one of the people who has already made the decision to hold off on getting the vaccine myself until I see a lot more data, particularly for those in my general age group and those with underlying conditions. And I mean a lot more data. Even if I was informed that I was eligible in the second round of people being offered vaccinations, I seriously don’t see myself going down to my doctor’s office and volunteering for this for at least several months.

The last factor we’re all waiting to learn about is the duration of the immunity these vaccines offer. If it’s at least good for a few years, it’s probably worth the stress and angst to go ahead and do it. But if this turns out to be like the flu vaccine where they tell us you need to get a fresh one every autumn, I’ll probably be thinking twice about it.