As Britain makes history by administering the first approved COVID-19 vaccine, we need to remember why we need one and address false facts that surround it.
So, we have vaccines! I was very happy to see that results from Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca come through in the news and I hope that in 2021 we’ll be able to live the lives we want once more.
But, I’m seeing a lot of comments like:
“IT’S A CONSPIRACY.”
“THEY WON’T BE PUTTING CHEMICALS IN ME.”
This is disappointing. I believe in free will, but I also believe in actually educating yourself and not following the crowd down conspiracy rabbit holes.
As someone who’s studied immunology and vaccine development as part of my degree, and as a blogger who likes to ‘lift the lid’ on dubious health claims, I had to write this post.
It’s been rushed and can’t be trusted
The COVID-19 vaccines are breaking records for the fasted produced, proven and approved vaccines in history. Why? The sheer need to get one ready.
Typically, vaccines take 5–10 years to create and bring to the market. Why? Bureaucracy.
It takes takes a long time to get the funding, to file the paperwork and even to find enough candidates in vaccine trials. With COVID-19, governments have poured money into the research, prioritised the paperwork and found swathes of volunteers who were willing to give a new vaccine a go in the hope that it would do the world some good.
It may have been ‘rushed through’ but it doesn’t mean that it’s been done badly. People have pulled together, worked long days and given everything they’ve got to get these vaccines ready.
It’s a conspiracy to monitor and control us
Apparently, Bill Gates wants to know everything that we do, and then tell us what to do. I have a few questions for you now:
Do you have a Facebook account?
Do you accept Cookies online?
Do you have a smart phone?
Do you pay your taxes?
Do you have a bank account?
If you’ve said yes to any of these questions, then good news! You’re already being monitored and influenced. You can do a search for something online, or browse a website and suddenly you’re stalked by online ads for that product/brand. Your birth is registered, your health status is kept on file for reference and your spending habits are tracked to determine whether or not you’re worthy of loans and mortgages.
We’re already being followed, to a certain extent. This vaccine isn’t about control, it’s about public health and sparing the world further pain.
It’s not safe
No medicine or treatment is ever 100% safe. It’s true that two NHS staff experienced allergic reactions after they got the vaccine, and people with severe allergies are being warned to not be vaccinated for now.
With the tens of thousands of volunteers who have taken part in trials, the data has revealed the most common reactions which are very similar to other vaccine reactions (muscle ache, tiredness, general ‘unwellness’). I got the flu vaccine for the first time in October, and it wiped me out for a day. Does it mean I won’t get it again? No. The benefits outweigh the risk and the pharmacy I went to for the vaccine made me sit for 15 minutes in the store just to make sure that I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock (it happens that fast).
The Lancet has released the latest peer reviewed paper on the safety and efficacy of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Here’s the interpretation:
“ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19 in this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials.”Voysey M, et al. The Lancet. Published:December 08, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32661-1.
Now, this isn’t the final ruling on vaccine safety. We’re always learning, and always noting down adverse events. But, we cannot say that it’s unsafe.
My final thoughts
I’m fed up of this pandemic. We all are.
Things have been mismanaged at a staggering scale in the UK and around the world. Test and trace? Hardly ‘world beating’. Rules on socialising? All over the place and confusing.
But remember, these vaccines haven’t been created by inept politicians who are out of their depth. They’ve been created by people who have spent decades in labs, working in immunology and vaccine development.
I also know that ‘Big Pharma’ gets a bad rap and some companies have been greedy in the past, and upheld dubious policies and practices.
This pandemic isn’t going to go away on it’s own. We’re not going to develop herd immunity, without staggering costs, if it’s even possible at all (things aren’t looking too rosy in Sweden right now). Our best hope is a vaccine.
They don’t have microchips in them, they don’t emit 5G signals. Conspiracy theories are rife right now because people are scared and frustrated, but they will cause more harm than good.
Stay safe. We will get through this.