Author: RD16

As the COVID vaccines are being rolled out globally, so are the pieces of news of the unsettling side effects popping up on social media or news outlets, regardless of how fast they are dismissed by people on mainstream media. Many folks feel pressured to make a decision quickly on whether they should take the COVID vaccine shot or not, especially considering the short-time usage of the vaccines. How are they supposed to interpret the news? Here are some facts provided by outspoken professionals with pertinent medical or life science backgrounds. Hope they may help the inquisitive minds make a more informed decision. 

#1. EUA only

While the general public considers all the COVID vaccines on the US market have been approved by FDA, actually, they are not the “full” approvals. They are very limited EUAs only.  That is EMERGENCY Use Authorization (EUA). As explained on the FDA’s official site, it is “a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures… FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency…”

In Mr. Steve Bannon’s WarRoom April 13’s interview, Dr. Richard Fleming pointed out that all vaccines so far are only EUA approved, a point that has been conveniently missed or omitted in most of the vaccine-related news. Actually, the vaccine maker companies already stopped trials in early 2021 as they have obtained the “go-ahead” to push out the vaccines. 

Source: FDA

#2. Side effects such as blood clots and thrombocytopenia

In December 2020, Dr. Fauci on MSNBC in an effort to reassure the public said, “Americans can be confident that the new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer is safe – We know it’s safe because if you look at the process that it’s gone through for the determination of whether it’s safe, as well as if it’s efficacious, was a clinical trial involving 44,000 people… The determination of the safety and the efficacy was made by an independent board, …. They looked at the data, they found it to be safe and highly efficacious—about 95%—and even more efficacious against serious disease.” 

Source: MarketWatch

However, soon enough came the unpleasant news across the Atlantic Ocean – Reported by MarketWatch on April 15, 2021, a study by Oxford University found people somehow developed blood clots after getting vaccinated. The number of people who had blood clots afterward is about the same for those who get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and similar for AstraZeneca. According to this study, 4 in 1 million people experience cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) after getting the Pfizer/Moderna, 5 in 1 million for AstraZeneca vaccines. AstraZeneca hence has been halted or limited in many countries due to blood clot concerns. 

Other side effects have been observed as well, including a serious one, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). A Miami-based doctor Dr. G. Michael passed away from complications of immune thrombocytopenia after the receipt of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dec 2020. He was 56. 

#3. ADE effect of Coronavirus makes vaccine development very challenging 

In answering the question of ‘Will a vaccine to SARS-CoV-2 actually make the problem worse ‘, Dr. Doug Corrigan, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a NASA graduate fellow, explained the concept of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE), which is a very common trait of coronavirus. 

In his article, he emphasized that he did not mean to persuade people to change their stand on the vaccine issue, or one’s conviction about vaccines; he simply wanted people to pay attention to this scientific fact. 

Develop a coronavirus vaccine, therefore, is a daunting task “due to a peculiar trojan horse mechanism known as Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE)…. For a vaccine to work, our immune system needs to be stimulated to produce a neutralizing antibody, as opposed to a non-neutralizing antibody…. In some viruses, if a person harbors a non-neutralizing antibody to the virus, a subsequent infection by the virus can cause that person to elicit a more severe reaction to the virus due to the presence of the non-neutralizing antibody.” 

This problem of ADE is a major reason why many previous vaccine trials for other types of coronaviruses failed. In short, a person who has been vaccinated could have a *worse* response than not. 

This ADE issue is a well-known concern for the vaccine research field. Dr. William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor and a founder known for his groundbreaking work on HIV/AIDS and the human genome. “Some vaccines worsen the consequences of infection rather than protect, a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE has been observed in previous attempts to develop coronavirus vaccines. To add to the concern, antibodies typical of ADE are present in the blood of some COVID-19 patients. Such concerns are real.” 

Russia Formally Approaches India for Partnership to ...
Photo Source: Reuters

#4. Clinical vaccines trials for humans are of Non-Challenge type 

Dr. Doug Corrigan highlighted another interesting fact not well-known by the general public. When it comes to vaccine clinical trials, it is not ethical to conduct “challenge” studies in humans. Hence humans are only given the vaccine, but they are not “challenged” with the virus afterward.

In animal studies, scientists do conduct a challenge test to observe how the animals respond to being exposed or being infected with the actual virus after being vaccinated. 

But such animal trials are not the same. Anne De Groot, CEO of EpiVax argues that testing for vaccine safety in primates does not guarantee safety in humans. 

A nurse saw injecting in a vaccine trial in India (Source: yahoo)

Hope the above provides some food for thoughts for our readers who are seeking knowledge in helping themselves make an informed decision. 

Editor: Rica Reviewer: Xiaoxin

References:

Dr. Fauci about Pfizer’s vaccine (on MSNBC)

Science with Dr. Doug: Coronavirus vaccine a ticking time bomb?

Dr. William Haseltine on ADE (former Harvard Professor) 

Dr. Richard Fleming on COVID vaccines’ EUA, efficacy, & side effects

Florida Doctor passed away after taking vaccine

Cover shot credit:  Blog at https://blog.bitsathy.ac.in

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