Adventist Journal Online | So many vaccine problems!
Adventist doctor sorts fact from fiction.
SSome have questioned the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is wise to get it. I have personally chosen to be vaccinated and recommend the vaccine to virtually all of my patients. I will explain the reasons why I made these decisions by addressing several of the concerns expressed by many people regarding the COVID vaccine.
Possible allergic reactions
Some people worry about the risk of a serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis from the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that this serious allergic reaction, which develops within the first 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine, occurs with a frequency of 2.5 to 4.7 cases per million vaccines.1 It is an extremely rare and treatable complication of any vaccine.
By comparison, if 1 million people were to contract COVID, between 5,000 and 10,000 would be expected to die from the disease.2 Thus, the risk of dying from contracting COVID is thousands of times greater than the risk of having an immediate serious reaction (not death) from receiving the vaccine.
From December 14, 2020 to August 9, 2021, more than 356 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered to approximately 198 million people in the United States (342 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and 13.9 million doses Johnson & Johnson vaccine [J&J] vaccine).3
During this period, the vaccine adverse event reporting system received 6,631 reports of deaths among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.4 Doctors from the CDC and FDA review each death case report as soon as it is notified, and the CDC asks medical records to further evaluate the reports. A review of available clinical information – including death certificates, autopsy and medical records – has so far revealed evidence suggesting that vaccination has contributed to less than 10 of these deaths.5 (Remember that so far, older people are much more likely to have received the vaccine, and older people are dying of heart attacks, cancer, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, hip fractures. and stroke, even after being vaccinated, as they did before the vaccine came out.)
As of July 8 in the United States, 38 cases of blood clots with four deaths have been reported, mostly in women under the age of 50.6 These blood clots have occurred almost exclusively in the 12.8 million people receiving the J&J vaccine, and the vaccine is likely causal. This serious adverse event is called ‘Thrombosis Syndrome with Thrombocytopenia’ (TTS), which involves blood clots with a low number of platelets. Platelets are a type of blood cell that helps the blood to clot. These cases of blood clots occurred five to 42 days after administration of the J&J vaccine in the United States and after administration of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine in Europe. These two vaccines are very similar in the mechanism of action.
As of July 12, no cases of TTS have been reported with the Pfizer vaccine, and two cases have been reported with the Moderna vaccine.7 These numbers don’t seem higher than you might expect.
Guillain Barre syndrome
Another condition that appears to be triggered by the J&J vaccine is Guillain BarrÃ© syndrome (GBS), a rapidly progressive muscle paralysis that is usually reversible with treatment, although recovery often takes several months. In the United States, as of June 30, approximately 100 cases of GBS have been reported within two weeks of vaccination with the J&J vaccine. There was one death.8
As of August 6, also in the United States, 1,253 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported (730 of them have been confirmed).9 Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the lining around the heart muscle. The most common symptoms were chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat. This has mostly happened in younger men and usually within a few days of the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Most responded to treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs and rested and quickly felt better. No deaths have been reported so far.ten
It should be noted that thrombosis is a very common complication of COVID-19, with blood clots occurring in 3-9% of patients hospitalized with moderate COVID and in 20-40% of patients with severe illness.11 These include clots in the veins, lungs, and arteries supplying the brain and limbs. So the risk of blood clots from COVID-19 infection is actually much higher than the risk of blood clots from J&J and AZ vaccines, and blood clots are not a problem with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. .
GBS is a recognized complication of COVID-19, perhaps as rare as with the vaccine. And myocardial damage is very common with COVID-19 infections, often associated with severe outcomes compared to the much milder myocarditis and pericarditis seen with vaccinations.12
Just to compare
Just for comparison, let’s assume the government is not being honest and all of the 6,631 total deaths reported by the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System are indeed a direct result of the vaccine. (Let me stress that this is only a guess; I believe the CDC and the FDA are being honest with the country, including open reporting of the side effects listed above.) Let’s compare 6,631 âafterâ deaths. the vaccine âwith what would happen if, instead, 198 million unvaccinated people contracted COVID.
The case fatality rate (confirmed infections / confirmed deaths) for COVID in the United States is 1.7%.13 Since there are a lot of people who contract COVID but are not tested (some studies suggest that there are twice as many people who have COVID antibodies from a previous infection compared to those who have been tested and tested positive), we could estimate that the risk of dying from COVID in the general population is 0.8%, and perhaps up to 2% in the older population, which includes many people. who have received the vaccines so far.
âI have personally chosen to be vaccinated and recommend the vaccine to virtually all of my patients. “
So if 198 million people (many of them older) contracted COVID rather than getting vaccinated, there would be 1.6 to 3 million deaths. It turns out, however, that they were vaccinated and that there were around 1,600 deaths, including 1,587 cases of COVID infections despite the vaccine, and less than 10 deaths from the vaccine.14 Even in women under 50 who have received the J&J vaccine (the highest risk group), the death rate from vaccine complications is only about one death per 1 million doses of vaccine. .15
We could also compare 6,631 “vaccine-related” deaths (actually less than 10) with 618,591 actual COVID deaths so far in the United States (as of August 15, 2021).16 Thus, the statistical odds of doing well are largely in favor of the vaccine. And with the vaccine supply as plentiful as it is, one can choose which vaccine to receive if one is concerned about the potential risks associated with a specific vaccine available.
It’s not just about “me”
We also need to consider what my vaccination might mean to someone else. Suppose all older people get vaccinated and all those with other health risks get vaccinated. The problem is that at least 6 percent of people who receive the vaccine will not actually generate a satisfactory immune response. This is even more likely in the elderly and those taking immunosuppressive drugs needed to treat a number of health conditions, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and polymyositis, to name a few. In fact, a recent study suggests that 77 percent of multiple sclerosis patients who take any of the common immune treatments and 96 percent who take another common immune treatment developed no measurable response to the vaccine.17 So now these elderly or immunocompromised people have gone out of their way to protect themselves, but a lot of them are still vulnerable (and they might not know it). So if I decide not to get the vaccine and then get COVID, I can pass the disease on to any of these friends, grandparents, or patients. And then they can contract severe or fatal COVID, even if they have been very vigilant. They should not be made to live in isolation forever!
From a public health perspective and compassion for the vulnerable, it always makes sense to seriously consider getting the vaccine even if you are young and healthy and not worried about contracting COVID at all. What I choose affects those around me. I shouldn’t just focus on my health.
Faith in God
Last but not least, patients have told me that they “are just going to put me in the hands of God” and not get the vaccine. But I have to ask, would that indicate a lack of faith if you had colon or breast cancer and allowed a surgeon to remove the tumor? Or have you developed epileptic seizures and decided to take medication to prevent seizures? Or have you decided to vaccinate your child to prevent him from catching polio? Or would it be better to âput it all in the hands of Godâ as well?
Could it be that God has revealed these âfindingsâ to our world for our benefit? This is indeed what I believe.
I would like to encourage each of us to get vaccinated. The FDA has now approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19,18 which should also help to eliminate the doubts that some people may have about its safety. I believe the benefits to all of us far outweigh the risks.
Richard sloop is a neurologist living in Yakima, Washington.
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