Will anti-vaxxers take the new COVID treatment pills?

Immanuel Carrothers, an unvaccinated 28-year-old, said as much: “I think if it was a pill, that would be easier to internalize not only physically but physiologically because we relate a pill with temporary metabolic breakdown … whereas an injection of whatever could have lasting effects,” he said in response to a social media callout.

The experts I spoke to said that the science behind Carrothers’ thinking, while understandable, isn’t quite right. Long-term effects from the COVID vaccines are extremely unlikely. And Carlisle pointed out that many medications consumed orally can have long-lasting effects even if most of them don’t. Adam Ratner, a pediatrician who treats infectious diseases, added that all vaccines, including those that aren’t given through injection, are gone from the body quite quickly.

“I’m not aiming to delegitimize the feeling that this person is expressing,” he said. “I just don’t think that it is necessarily based on solid data.”

But perhaps the psychology really is what’s important here. The hope is that anyone who is injection-hesitant will be more open to a medication that reduces their risk of severe COVID. As an example, Ratner pointed to the Orthodox Jewish community in New York City. Many community members have been resistant to the COVID vaccine—but they largely seem to accept monoclonal antibody therapy.