MEDICAL: The “ Isms” and “ Schisms”’ surrounding Covid 19 vaccines.

By  Yvonne Sam

Information is the best medicine.

When the new COVID- 19 vaccines go into use in December, regulatory authorities are poised for a cataclysm of people reporting side effects.

A group of doctors met with the U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, urging public health officials and doctors to be as pellucid as possible about the coronavirus vaccine—because of the potentially unpleasant side effects people may experience after the first shot. Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines require two doses at varying intervals.   

Reports surrounding the vaccines that are hoped to be 95% effective are generating as much skepticism as it is optimism. Notwithstanding, with so much contingent on people actually taking the vaccine, should they not be told and understand as much as possible, as they weigh the pros and cons of whether taking the vaccine is the best decision for them and their family? It appears that there is no institutional or political will to truly address the issue.

A brief look at what vaccines are, and what they are supposed to do, may assist in explaining the hesitancy that is seemingly more infectious than the virus itself.  Vaccines work in the body by training the immune system to identify and eradicate viruses and bacteria.  To achieve this end, certain“ particles”  (antigens)  of  the invader  are  imported into the body in order to provoke a response from your immune system. Following injection of the antigens into the body, the immune system then learns to pinpoint them as unfavorable invaders, and remember them for the future.  Should there ever  be a reemergence of either the bacteria or the virus, the immune system will recognize the antigens from that particular virus or bacteria, and immediately attack it aggressively before the pathogen can spread and cause sickness.

For many of us our point of reference for vaccine is with childhood vaccines. Data reveals that overall, most childhood vaccines are 90 percent to 99 percent effective in preventing disease.

In the U. S. the (FDA) Food and Drug Administration) looks at all aspects of research and development, including how and where the vaccine is produced, in addition to the studies that have been conducted in people who received the vaccine. No vaccine will be licensed unless it meets standards for effectiveness (how well it works) and safety. Results of studies get reviewed again by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, the most important consideration on the mind of all mask-conforming individuals is safety and whether whatever they make available as a vaccine is safe?

Along comes “Operation Warp Speed”, the current race to find a vaccine for this deadly virus. This strategy for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine has added to the underlying concern for safety and effectiveness in the minds of millions. The upshot? Formerly, it takes between five and 18 years of basic research, and turn that into a usable vaccine, bearing in mind that no vaccine is 100 percent safe. Contrast to traditional vaccines can take years to design.

But perhaps more noteworthy is the fact that Moderna designed its vaccine in just two days in January, before some people had even heard of the coronavirus.

Conclusively, even as two vaccines reach safety milestones and look poised for regulatory approval, managing the reporting and follow-up of what are known as adverse drug reactions(ADR), will be critical to keeping to the high levels of public participation needed for a vaccination program to be successful. Effective monitoring is especially important given these vaccines will be released with less safety follow-up than is typical for widely used shots. Having a robust system to log, analyze and allow for prompt feedback from reported side effects is essential to ensuring public safety. The factors that influence people to make choices to take vaccines are nuanced. Recently, the United Nations asked a group of experts across the world to propose ways to persuade people to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Combined with clear communication, it will also be central to building confidence in the new vaccines.

Without trust the new vaccines can be a financial bust.

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Comments

  • Dennis Albert  On 12/07/2020 at 11:42 am

    This covid getting worse in this region.

    The atheist crew start believing in the End Times and Judgment day!

  • brandli62  On 12/07/2020 at 12:05 pm

    @Yvonne Sam: Your summary of the safety issues of the covid-19 vaccines is factually correct and important. Congratulations!

    Explanatory comment:
    The fact that Moderna could design their vaccine candidates in just 2 days is essentially trivial. Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech use mRNA (which are gene transcripts that direct cells to produce proteins) as immunisation agents. Once you know the genetic sequence of the disease-causing virus, any person with basic knowledge in molecular biology can design an mRNA vaccine.

    • Brother Man  On 01/01/2021 at 3:23 pm

      Warning: It’s dangerous for lay people to offer medical advice. Listen to the scientists. Medicine has made great progress in the past half century.

      Brother Man

  • wally n  On 12/07/2020 at 12:07 pm

    “financial bust” is more important…….way above saving lives…par for the course???

  • geoffburrowes  On 12/31/2020 at 5:11 pm

    Does anyone remember a drug called Thalidomide. I think it was a birth control drug. it resulted in a generation of babies without arms and or legs and other malformations. I don`t see an alternative but wish we had tested it more thoroughly!

    • brandli62  On 01/01/2021 at 8:20 am

      Yes, I do! Thalidomide was not a birth control pill, it was given to pregnant women suffering from pregnancy-related nausea and morning sickness. At the time in the early 60s, only the USA has drug testing regulations in place that protected patients from dangerous drugs. Before you were allowed to marked a drug, you had demonstrate to the FDA that your drug was safe and effective. By contrast, not such regulations existed in all other countries. Grünenthal, the German producer of Thalidomide, was aggressively marketing the drug all over the world. In the US, they were forced to remove the drug from the market as the had failed to demonstrate that their drug was safe for use in pregnant women. The saved lots of children from being born with severe malformations. In Europe, the drug was initially not withdrawn from the market as there was no legal basis to force the company to do so. It was also difficult to prove causality. It was the press and public pressure that forced Grünenthal to withdraw the drug.

      As a consequence, the US drug approval process requiring clinical trials to prove safety and efficacy of a drug candidate was adopted by most countries in the world. Thalidomide made the public aware how important it is to prove safety of drugs prior to market approval.

      On a personal note, my mother who was a nurse in London in the late 50s. In 1961 she left to marry my dad and live in Basel, Switzerland. Soon after she was expecting me and suffered a lot of pragnancy-related morning sickness. If she had still be living in the UK, she would have most likely taken Thalidomide…. Her move to Switzerland, where the drug was essentially not used, save me from being born severely handicapped.

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