We know it’s been produced in record time, we know about how the rollout is going in different parts of the country and the world. What else do you know about it? Here’s some 411 to get you up to speed.
If ‘a little knowledge is dangerous’, let’s make sure we have more than just a little knowledge under our belt. After all, that kind of understanding is foundational to proper informed consent about any medical procedure.
How many of these 5 facts did you already know? (For a more in-depth explanation of these 5 points, see the original WCSK article.)
1) The vaccine doesn’t do what you think it does.
When you hear news reports about 95% effective, what does that figure mean to you? That there’s a nineteen in twenty chance that… what, exactly? That you won’t contract the virus? That you won’t pass it along to others?
Would your perceptions change if the success rate they’re citing measures a different metric entirely?
…So, what is the vaccine 95% effective in doing? The answer is in reducing the symptoms of mild disease. So, for example, reducing a moderate cough and runny nose for 3-4 days to a mild cough and runny nose for 1-2 days.
When the average person hears the word “vaccine,” they think about something that prevents them either from getting really sick and dying or from getting other people sick. The proposed COVID vaccines fail on both counts. In fact, eight out of ten people who contract COVID will have only mild symptoms and tend to recover without treatment. Which then begs the question: if almost all people with mild symptoms will recover anyway, then what’s the point of a vaccine that only reduces mild symptoms yet doesn’t prevent the disease itself?
2) The vaccine does what you don’t think it does.
Traditional vaccines use dead or damaged parts of the virus itself to stimulate an immune response. This is an entirely new technology. One we’ve not yet tested on people in large numbers.
It relies on a new way of interacting with your body’s internal machinery so that instead of allowing your immune system to “figure it out and fight,” the COVID vaccine instead gives your cells new marching orders and tells them what to do.
…The COVID vaccines do not contain a dead or weakened virus; instead, they work by using messenger RNA (or mRNA). In plain English, mRNA is a synthetic product that “hacks” your cells’ programming through genetic modification. So, in theory, how the COVID vaccine is supposed to work is that it instructs your cells to make proteins, and then your body forms antibodies to those proteins. Purportedly, those antibodies are made against parts of the coronavirus, which inhibits it.
Certainly, a synthetic mRNA product could do many things, both positive and negative. But the brutal reality is that we simply don’t know what will happen until we move out of a lab and controlled experimental conditions and into the real world. Some reasonable questions to ask about a mRNA vaccine are: “What are the side effects and adverse reactions?” “What are the short-term and long-term consequences?” “Will I need a COVID vaccine every year, and what are the long-term consequences of being injected with synthetic genetic material?”
As of the time the source article was written, they cited the following data about side effects, linking to the source studies.
We already know that 100% of those individuals who were injected with two doses (100 mcg) of Moderna’s (see Figure 1) mRNA vaccine experienced side effects. In Pfizer’s trial, half of the people aged 18-55 experienced adverse side effects.
One of those possible side effects showing up in at least one study is something called antibody-dependent enhancement. Look it up.
3. The accelerated production timeline required certain tradeoffs
What many individuals may not realize is that both Pfizer and Moderna have applied to the FDA for vaccine approval under the EUA or Emergency Use Authorization. Why does application under the EUA matter? Because doing it this way lowers the bar for approval, meaning there is less scrutiny applied to how well a vaccine works and how much harm it can cause. EUA only requires that the therapy in question may be effective, and that the potential benefits outweigh the risks. This is the ultimate catch-22: we don’t know what the potential risks are because of a lack of vigorous testing.
4. Vaccine manufacturers are shielded from legal liability
One of the factors preventing medical companies from taking unnecessary risks — especially in a situation where being first out of the gate carries such an enormous upside in potential profit — is the price of being financially culpable if they cut any corners on due diligence if something goes sideways.
With this specific medical procedure, that particular check-and-balance mechanism is absent.
What the PREP Act did is codify into law that COVID vaccine manufacturers would be exempt from liability even if their vaccine harms patients.
5. Health Care providers have had a mixed response to the vaccine.
Many health care providers have already taken the vaccine, and are leading the charge in encouraging others to do so. But it would be inaccurate to say there is has been uniformly embraced. It’s not a red/state blue state thing, either. As recently as January 18th, we see the following news story:
While there is no national data showing the number of health workers who have declined to be vaccinated, governors, public health officials and health care executives have sounded the alarm on what appears to be a higher than expected refusal rate.
In New York state, more than 40 percent of health workers, who are first in line to get the shot because of their importance to the COVID-19 response, have yet to be vaccinated. It’s not clear how many had actually declined the vaccine, versus not being offered it yet. But the percentage of workers who declined a vaccine in different regions of the state ranges from 12 percent to 29 percent, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. —TheHill
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