COVID-19: Do You Want to Be First to Get the Vaccine?

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Is your life “on hold” pending a COVID-19 vaccine? Do you want to be first in line, a late adopter, or a skeptic?

 Do we have to give it to everyone to find out what is in it?

Florian Krammer, professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has compiled an awe-inspiring Tweetorial on the dozens of vaccine candidates of 10  different types, some novel, even revolutionary. He explains how extraordinarily rapid development is possible with our sophisticated molecular technology.

It’s a stunning, unprecedented, multi-billion dollar effort against ONE virus, which has killed a tiny fraction of earth’s population, about 1 million out of 7.8 billion (about 0.013 percent). While “cases” (positive tests) are increasing, the world’s all-cause death rate is approaching the expected norm. This is thanks to the miraculous human immune system, which fights against ALL disease-causing organisms and has kept us from extinction despite recurring pandemics.

A couple items that Dr. Krammer did not define are “frozen” and “safe.” “Frozen” here means at -4 degrees Fahrenheit (Moderna) or -94 degrees F. (Pfizer and BioNTech)—a major logistical problem.  He considers human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to be “safe,” although many raise questions about it, especially about decreased fertility or even primary ovarian failure. This cannot possibly be ruled out in a short-term trial.

 “Compared to what?” is the key question for any medical decision.

How safe and effective is any vaccine compared to:

Remember that everyone who gets a vaccine is subject to side effects but benefits only if exposed to the particular virus. Only sick or exposed people will be prescribed treatments. Moreover, the treatments listed here have a broad spectrum of effectiveness. Ivermectin, for example, might also work against HIV-1, dengue, Zika, West Nile, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Chikungunya, pseudorabies, adenovirus—and mutant SARS-CoV-2.

These are the answers you should demand before rolling up your sleeve for a vaccine.

For further information on COVID-19 statistics, antiviral treatment, and conflicts of interest at the CDC, see the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.