Get the jab? Who?

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There are two things I want to clarify right off the bat. First, I’m not a microbiologist, epidemiologist, or doctor, although I understand how to read research and what things like confounders and peer review mean.

Second, and really what is most important, my opinion is my own, obtained for my own reasons although I can say that I have actually read the research. Real research, not the sensational, twisted, and generally ridiculous headlines that too many people think are meant to convey information.

I’m not going to ask myself whether or not people should get the vaccine, whether the masks work or are necessary because, well, there is no point. Too many people have put moral equivalents on this, and I have a problem with that.

Didn’t you get the jab? No, you are not a terrible person who does not care about others.

Did you have the jab? No, you are not a morally superior person who cares about others.

There are good do’s and don’ts, and no one has the right to judge you anyway. It also means that you don’t have the right to judge others. Do you see how it works?

The only thing both sides are saying is, “Follow the science! “

Well, it’s easier said than done when the media, the talking heads, and the politicians are more interested in sensationalism than science. If you get your information from “social” media, well, you might as well stop reading now. This is real information here, yes with my opinion, but this part is clearly stated. And no, I am not relying in any way on my friend’s neighbor who has a first cousin who she says works for a hospital in the housekeeping field and is almost graduating from CNA so she does. would know.

So I looked at the science. Not whether Covid-19 is man-made or not, was it accidentally or intentionally released from that Wuhan lab, and not even whether or not it’s as deadly – or benign – as some say. I watched the real science of what each vaccine is and how it works.

You can check out the links below on your own. If you are only reading one of the articles, I recommend the article in the journal “Clinical Microbiology and Infection” because it explains very well why there is so much confusion about different vaccines due to things like comparison. real-world results versus laboratory tests, various methods of conducting research and the way it is presented. In other words, some of those confounding variables that make it almost irrelevant to compare one search to another.

The first thing I found out was that there are over 300 vaccines under review right now, but only three are available in this country. Well, technically there’s a fourth, but only about 30,000 got it in a Phase 3 clinical trial at 116 sites. More on that later.

Let’s start with the big three, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer is the first to gain full FDA approval. Like the Moderna jab, it uses mRNA technology to make your immune system work. Both require two doses, both are quite effective in preventing Covid-19 infection, and both face questions about their effectiveness in the medium to long term. Hence the conversations about boosters. How mRNA works is to use the ‘messenger’ to instruct the immune system to attack the Covid-19 spike protein the next time the body sees it.

The Johnson & Johnson is different because it is a viral vector vaccine. In short, how this one works is that the common adenovirus that causes the common cold is designed with instructions to the body to make the specific Covid-19 spike protein. The body sees this as a threat and strengthens the immune system against this spike protein.

J&J has been temporarily discontinued for very rare but potentially serious side effects, in particular cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and blood clotting disorders. While this may sound like it’s banned, keep in mind that the FDA has also issued warnings regarding Pfizer and Moderna. These FDA warnings relate to inflammation of the heart muscle and / or inflammation of the outer wall of the heart. Additionally, Pfizer and Moderna both pose a risk of anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction, to require recipients to be monitored for 15 minutes after jab.

Which brings us to the opinion part of this little exercise.

Anaphylaxis is reversed with an emergency injection of epinephrine, but as anyone with a severe or life-threatening allergy knows, each subsequent case of anaphylaxis can worsen in turn. No allergic reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been reported. I would hate to have my next allergic reaction hospitalize me or worse, because the life-saving epi-shot was mitigated by a vaccine reaction. That’s why when I had to pass the jab, I chose the Johnson & Johnson. See? This is what science and self-decision making looks like.

As stated above, there is another vaccine. The fourth vaccine is Novavax, made by a biotech company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. They conducted a phase 3 clinical trial with nearly 30,000 participants in the United States and Mexico which showed an efficacy rate of 90%. They will seek emergency clearance approval from the FDA in October.

This vaccine has a different mechanism of action than others because it is a protein-based vaccine and more importantly it contains an adjuvant. This addition has been shown to stimulate both antibody and T cell responses. It is the latter of these two factors that induces the highest and longest lasting immune response. These types of adjuvanted vaccines have been around for a long time, especially as the tetanus vaccine that most of us have received at one time or another. It is also the basis of vaccines against pertussis, hepatitis B, influenza, meningitis, shingles and others that have been used for years.

The Novavax vaccine highlights the most important part of this whole conversation, preventing serious illness or death from Covid-19. We are constantly reminded that vaccines may not protect against contamination with the virus, but they are believed to reduce the likelihood of serious illness or death if you contract the virus after being fully vaccinated. The Novavax trial was double-blind, meaning that neither the researchers nor the recipients knew who had received the placebo and who had received the vaccine. In addition, of the nearly 30,000 participants, 10,000 were in the control group who received the placebo. In the placebo group, 63 then contracted Covid-19, of which 10 developed moderate symptoms, i.e. requiring medical intervention, and 4 severe cases, i.e. hospitalizations or intensive care stays. Of the 19,000 people who received the vaccine as part of the trial, 13 became ill with zero cases of moderate or severe illness. Zero.

Novavax has been studied in the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom and South Africa, and questions remain as to its effectiveness against variants. The trials were all conducted before the widespread emergence of the Delta variant, but lab results support similar efficacy rates of around 90% against this variant and others. Either way, the specific issue isn’t whether or not it stops you from getting Covid-19 after dosing, it’s how many people get seriously ill or die. As of this writing, that number is still zero deaths, zero critical illness, and zero moderate illness in all of the above studies, although more than half of the UK study participants are over 65 and are in the highest risk group.

All of this begs the question, why the pressure for these new platforms, be it mRNA vaccines or adenoviral vectors? Well, the answer can be in the question. These techniques are new, promising in many ways that have nothing to do with Covid-19, and ultimately it may be about testing and proving usefulness, efficacy and safety. new avenues rather than fighting the current virus.

Let’s check the dashboard. MRNA can cause anaphylaxis and heart muscle complications which can be fatal in a tiny minority of cases. Their effectiveness ranges from around 90% to 77%, with no clear answer yet on whether or not boosters are necessary. The adenoviral vector can cause blood clots and other complications that can be fatal, again in a negligible fraction of cases. But, and this is a big but, these are new technologies and we just don’t have data on long term, i.e. even a year, contraindications. Or, to put it mildly for the pharmaceutical industry, “adverse events”.

The efficacy rate of Novavax in the study in South Africa was only 55%, but it was 90% in the UK where more than half of the study participants were over 65 years old. (See the article on clinical microbiology and infections for some of the reasons for the dramatically different efficacy rates). No “unexpected adverse events” have been reported as this type of vaccine has been used against other diseases and has been given in tens or even hundreds of millions of doses. More importantly, even in the South African study, there was not a single case of moderate or severe illness in those who, despite their full vaccination, subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, and no cases. of deceased. Again, no serious or even moderate illness and no death.

Why has this drug not been granted emergency use authorization? Perhaps the lion’s share of that answer is simply the money. It was a small biotech company that developed the vaccine and they don’t have the resources that the big boys have. In addition, questions about their ability to produce enough are still being investigated. The cynical part of the money issue is that it’s not a new technology and we know what other uses it has and could have in the future. So nothing new or sexy here.

Follow the science, as hard as it may be to do effectively. But maybe we should also follow the money.

You can find more information at the links below, in particular on the possible usefulness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in disadvantaged communities. Note that these are all respected and valid scientists and scientific publications.

US Clinical Trial Results Show Novavax Vaccine Safe and Prevent COVID-19 | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Differences Are Pros, Not Cons | VilleSanté (bmc.org)

COVID-19 Vaccine Comparison: How Are They Different? > News> Yale Medicine

What do we know about the Novavax vaccine? – Questions and answers from experts – Science Media Center

What are the best 2019 coronavirus disease vaccines? – Clinical Microbiology and Infection


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