COVID19 vaccines and the resistance

When these new mRNA vaccines were coming out, I was very hesitant. As a medical practitioner, I was eligible to get them right away, but as of today, I still have not gotten a vaccination for COVID19.
The vaccines are using a new technology and have been rushed out the door to get them to market and who knows what kind of corners were cut to get them out quickly. Every time a new medication comes out, there are all kinds of side effects that didn’t show up in the initial studies because the companies select the participants in the studies to be those at lower risk for the side effects. It isn’t until it’s actually out in the real world and all kinds of people with different genetic and environmental loads are taking it that we see the real spectrum of side effects.
I’m not against vaccines. I am against the inappropriate use of vaccines and on my website you can see a few articles I wrote about the inappropriately broad recommendations for
flu vaccines that are not based on science. Frankly, having a vaccine to get us out of this COVID19 mess would be a nice thing.
So, I waited. Once the vaccines have been out in the real world for a while, we’ll see the reality of what they do.
It’s been a few months and I’ve been seeing data from places like Israel where they’ve already vaccinated a good chunk of the population and they are
seeing a roughly 95% protection against symptoms, pretty close to what Moderna and Pfizer were reporting. Not bad!
One concern is that people who are vaccinated can still acquire the virus and won’t know it (95% reduction in showing symptoms, remember) and become asymptomatic carriers. We finally got some data on it with these mRNA vaccines and it looks like they reduce transmission of the virus by
80%, too.
In terms of allergies, these mRNA vaccines are remarkably clean with only
a few ingredients and none of the adjuvants we see in the other vaccines.
What about those side effects?
What I’ve seen from talking to people who had the vaccines is that a little under half of the people have no side effects from the first shot and a little less than that from the second shot. The side effects that have occurred seem to go mostly away within 48 hours of the vaccination. As we all know, there are a host of people who had COVID19 and continue to have symptoms long after the infection is over (though it seems that vaccinating them will help about 1/3 of the time).
How about some data for the rarer and more severe side effects?
As of yesterday, there are 1,913 reports of death (0.0018%) among the 109 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to people in the US. Any death during the reporting period gets reported and then they look into whether it was vaccine related and so far none in the US have seemed to be related to the vaccine itself. Here’s the article:
Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC.
Even if 100% of those deaths were related to the vaccine, it’s still a much lower death rate than from the virus itself (which seems to have a death rate between 0.1% and 4.1%, and it is 1.8% among confirmed cases in the US).
As far as anaphylaxis goes, in the U.S. – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Jan. 19 there have been 15 cases of anaphylaxis with the Moderna shot and 45 with the Pfizer shot. That translates to 2.1 cases per million doses and 6.2 cases per million doses, respectively. Again, much lower rates than complications from COVID-19.
As far as the autoimmune potential goes, however, there’s little data on it and it’s hard to connect it to a particular event. I think a case can certainly be made that if your own cells are making the spike protein, you could develop autoimmunity. However, it doesn’t seem to actually happen in practice, at least right away. Also the mRNA doesn’t stick around and make you continue making the protein for a long time, so if it doesn’t develop fairly quickly it probably isn’t going to. Of course it’s impossible _prove_ it doesn’t so it’s not wrong to say there’s a possibility. There’s also a possibility that you could win the lottery after getting the vaccine.
We always need to weigh risk versus benefit, or risk of treatment versus risk of no treatment. The risk of treatment doesn’t seem very impressive and the risk of not treating is clearly greater, not only in the risk of death, but also in the risk of long-term consequences.
So, with all the data pouring in showing the safety and efficacy of the mRNA vaccines, I have to say that my resistance to getting it is crumbling. I may actually get vaccinated in the next couple weeks.