In a new survey of 1,000 New Jersey residents, about half say they would not take the new COVID-19 vaccines about to be rolled out in the next few weeks or months. People are justified to be hesitant to get any new vaccine that was rushed and fast-tracked in this kind of record time.

If you feel comfortable, by all means, go for it. Some people are skeptical of vaccines to begin with, having seen horror stories of some of the effects, albeit on a small number of people. But if you know one of those people or have to care for them, the results are devastating.

Many of the people today who are scared out of their wits over the novel coronavirus were not born yet when a swine flu vaccine was administered in 1976. It did not go well for many of its recipients and their loved ones who had to care for them. That was a while ago and medical science has progressed since then. Or has it, when it comes to vaccines?

There is something called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program run by the federal government, which has doled out billions of dollars in damage claims, since the pharmaceutical companies are exempt from lawsuits in the case of vaccines. A friend of mine who lives in my town was paralyzed following a simple flu vaccine two years ago. No doctor would tell him the vaccine was the exact cause, but it fit the profile of so many others who've had the same side effects. The paralysis occurred the day after his vaccination and lasted nearly a year.

If you take care of yourself and you're in generally good health, you might want to avoid vaccines for things you feel you can fight off naturally. If you feel vulnerable and frightened, by all means, line up, roll up your sleeve and go for it. The tricky part is whether government will force citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccine, either through law or by making it a requirement for travel or even employment.

America used to mean freedom. Freedom used to mean choice. Let both slip away and you'll wish you succumbed to a deadly virus before you have to live in that kind of society. Ask any Eastern European immigrant who risked their life to get here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.