Vaccines are supposed to prevent you from getting ill. Some come with a bit of malaise or soreness at the injection site, but this is generally preferable to the illnesses they are meant to prevent. The initial information being released from Pfizer, which announced Monday that it has a 90% effective vaccine, does not sound as encouraging as one might think.
NBC News reports that the vaccine’s side effects may be worse than the virus for many younger people. Or at least no better. It will be given in two doses, weeks apart. Scientists are also predicting it will make you feel sick:
Scientists anticipate that the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school.
A doctor involved with the trials said:
“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”
And the symptoms are not limited to the initial dose:
Persuading people who experience those symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose — and a second round of flu-like symptoms — could be a tough sell, Schaffner said.
A Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be distributed first to health care staffers and other essential workers, who may not be able to work if they feel sick, said Dr. Eli Perencevich, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at University of Iowa Health Care.”
A lot of folks don’t have sick leave. A lot of our essential workers don’t have health insurance,” he said, suggesting that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they’re vaccinated. “These are the things a well-functioning government should provide for to get our economy going again.”
Comments about the economy sound ludicrous to people who live in Florida, Georgia, and other open states. Our economies are already going again. According to the jobs report, the national economy is as well. The unemployment rate is recovering and fell below 7%, and over 600,000 new jobs were added.
Many are assuming that the vaccine will require an annual dose, like the flu shot. There is even talk of combining the two vaccines. So annually, those who receive the vaccine appear likely to feel crappy and miss school or work. This is pretty much what happens when young, healthy people catch COVID-19.
The handful of people under 50 who have had COVID-19 in my social circle have felt tired and achy, had a low-grade fever, and some lose their sense of smell. Within three or four days, they were feeling demonstrably better. The mild experience of the illness seems to follow the same pattern as the vaccine.
Yet there will be a huge push to vaccinate everyone for a virus with a 99% recovery rate. Ticketmaster has already announced they will require proof of vaccination to attend concerts in the future. The New York Bar Association is recommending the vaccine be made mandatory if a sufficient percentage of the population doesn’t take it voluntarily:
The New York State Bar Association on Saturday passed a resolution urging the state to consider making it mandatory for all New Yorkers to undergo COVID-19 vaccination when a vaccine becomes available, even if people object to it for “religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is also an mRNA vaccine. This means it teaches your cells how to manufacture the coronavirus’s spike protein and manufacture antibodies as a response. This technology has never been used in humans before. Essentially, just like a virus hijacks your cell’s processes to make copies of itself, this vaccine hijacks your cell’s processes to manufacture a protein. This is very exciting to Bill Gates:
As Bill Gates, who has supported companies like Moderna and BioNTech through the Gates Foundation, has described it, “you essentially turn your body into its own manufacturing unit.”
According to Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
“There are a few realities that I think you have to acknowledge,” says Beyrer. “The first is that there have been many attempts to use this technology in this mRNA and platform for vaccines for other diseases, and none of them have made it to licensure. So, this is an unproven technology at this point.”
There is also an increasingly loud movement to try and force people to take it. Whether it is advice to lawmakers in New York or a private business such as Ticketmaster, your freedom to choose could be limited. Or your freedom to engage in activities like travel, concerts, sporting events, and movies could be taken away by businesses that choose to engage in “papers please” policies.
A new vaccine utilizing a new technology could be required for you to work or go to school. And it changes nothing. According to NBC:
And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.
This is all starting to sound a little insane, especially for younger, healthier Americans. Why this is being treated differently than the flu vaccine is a question that needs to be answered by our “experts.” Especially for populations where the mortality rate is lower than that of the flu.