My Take on the Vaccine Question

Apparently there are a lot of people out there who don’t want to take the vaccine. A small but significant number of NBA and NFL players, potentially up to 83,000 health workers in New York, and more elsewhere. Resistance is in the minority, but that minority is pretty serious about it. So here’s my take on the question:

While there’s a chance that COVID-19 could cause you to be hospitalized or even die, the odds are ever in your favor if you don’t happen to be in a high-risk group. I’ve known people who have caught it and died. I know people who caught it and it was a vicious flu-like illness. I know people who caught it and it was like a bad cold.

Natural immunity post COVID is apparently significantly better than any vaccine can produce.

No vaccine is ever risk-free. The negative outcomes are rare, but not non-existent. There have been no long-term trials. (Remember when all the “experts” said it was impossible to get a vaccine out in less that 3-4 years? That’s why.) We really don’t know what happens after a year or ten.

So you have a low, but non-zero chance of having a bad reaction to the vaccine. You have a low, but non-zero chance of getting sick enough from COVID to need to go to the hospital, or even die there. But if you don’t have co-morbidities, that risk is pretty low. You have a low, but non-zero chance of negative long-term effects.

Now, if you DO get sick, you run the risk of passing it on to others. Vaccines don’t work that way. That risk is to you only.

If you do get vaccinated, you can still get sick. Your odds of being hospitalized or dying is decreased, but not eliminated. And while sick you can be infectious. The vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection, the normal primary case for vaccination.

There are no “solutions,” only trade-offs. If I were young and healthy (like a professional athlete), I would probably not get vaccinated and hope that when (not if) I catch it, it’s no worse than a mild cold and afterward I would have a robust immune response. But I’m not young and healthy, I’m 59, obese, and a dual-organ transplant recipient on immunosuppressives. I got vaccinated.

However, I’m absolutely opposed to vaccine mandates. If my work requires me to show proof of vaccination or get weekly tests, well, they can decide whether or not they want to fire me. I’m pretty certain I can get another job. Not everyone has that option.

As in all things, YMMV, but I fear government overreach more than I fear a virus.

14 thoughts on “My Take on the Vaccine Question

  1. “The vaccine doesn’t prevent infection, the normal primary case for vaccination.”

    I have but one minor quibble about your post: the quoted statement is often repeated but is only partially true: the vaccines *do* prevent infection a significant majority of the time. Not 100% of the time, of course, but the Pfizer vaccine, for example, reduces the risk of infection by about 80% according to published data. The Moderna one is slightly more effective and the J&J is slightly less. Boosters increase that effectiveness even more.

    Put differently, the Pfizer vaccine reduces your risk of getting sick at all from COVID by about 80%, and you can’t spread a disease you don’t have.

    Just because it’s only 80% effective at preventing COVID infection doesn’t mean it “doesn’t prevent infection”. The latter statement implies the vaccines are ineffective at preventing infection at all, or only slightly effective. In actuality they are highly, but not completely, effective at preventing infection.

    1. All of the other numbers associated with Covid, like deaths and positive cases, have proven to be inflated and highly suspect. I dare say that the effectiveness of the vaccine is most likely suspect too. One only has to look at Israel, and even the UK or other highly vaccinated countries, to see that the vaccine is not anywhere near 80% effective at preventing infection.

  2. There are various reason not to get it some medical some religious. But the way this has been handled just strikes me more of a matter of control than health. Mt niece who is 25 and a nurse in NY is seeing a large number of people her age you are being hospitalized due to reactions to the vaccine. This whole “thing” has been one story after another that constantly change. Some say this is a bad seasonal flu others claim it is the worse thing since the black death. I know they are fudging number of deaths from covid partially because reimbursement is higher if you say the person died from covid.
    I am not vaccinated and will not be for religious reasons. My places says okay you need to test twice a week so I do. I am 71 and in decent health, but if they had insisted I would have said not fire me.

  3. Note that there are often significant medical reasons to not get the mRNA injection. As a side note, it’s not a “vaccine”, it’s a genetic manipulator that turns your own body’s cells into poison [protein] production centers that hopefully turn out proteins similar enough to the spikes on the virus (binding proteins) that your immune system recognizes them. Where, how and when these are “turned off” is left to the imagination.

    One major reason to not receive the jab is if you have any sort of auto-immune condition. The last study on auto-immune persons receiving the injection show that approximately 1/3rd (it was 32%) have a massive flare-up of their condition requiring immediate treatment. Just as an example, if you have auto-immune induced uveitis, you now have a one in three chance of going blind due to a sudden massive flare-up causing CME’s (not coronal mass ejections, but rather cystoidal macular edema).

    Let’s see…how would I choose to balance between a 0.24% chance of an adverse outcome from the virus, or a 32% chance of going blind from the mRNA injection, which gives incredibly poor “protection” from the virus, and apparently does nothing to slow the spread.

    Getting the jab’s not even a choice; that’s playing Russian roulette with 2 rounds in the cylinder.

  4. I got the vaccine because I travel for work and assumed I would get Covid no matter what, and the risk from the vaccine appears to be lower than the risk from the disease. However, it’s important to note that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not the same as the typical vaccines we get routinely. These are gene therapies. The long-term effects are completely unknown. The FDA requirement for gene therapies is a 5-15 year study period which has been set aside in this case. Most of the individuals I know who are adamantly refusing the vaccine are doctors and nurses. They are not anti-vax, but the lack of solid studies and vastly higher rates of complications with these treatments have made them assess the vaccine risk to be high.

    It’s also important to note that the vaccines are becoming less effective over time as the virus mutates in response to the large numbers of vaccinated individuals. The virus is becoming better at evading the vaccines through natural selection, normal behavior for a virus. This reduces the benefit of the vaccines while the risk associated with them is staying constant, thus making them less attractive over time. Despite it not being the choice I made, I think a lot of the people refusing the vaccine are doing so for logical reasons based on a solid grasp of the data.

  5. The problem I’m having is that the narrative and arguments change like someone’s rolling a die and consulting a table of arguments.

    It protects you from Covid. It makes you resistant to Covid. You’re not in danger. You’re in danger from the unvaccinated. You’re endangering the vaccinated.

    I can’t imagine why people might be a little hesitant. (/sarc)

  6. I am also of the demographic and have chosen not to take the vaccine because I believe there is a preponderance of the evidence that the vaccine is far more dangerous than the actual disease. That the protection offered is slight and short term. I hope that you are right as your expected outcome is far less disastrous than mine, but I think that it is a forlorn hope.

  7. I got the vaccine in June. Normally I wouldn’t have, but my mother-in-law lives with us, she’s 82 and has kidney problems and lung problems. As a truck driver, social distancing to extremes is my normal daily routine, so I’m not nearly as much “at-risk” as most. If my wife or I get COVID, chances are it’s an annoyance. If my mother-in-law gets it, it’s a near certainty that she dies. So we all got the jab.

    But with all that said, as far as mandates and all the political hooraw surrounding it, I stand by what I have said elsewhere:

    The Protected™ must be protected from the Unprotected™ by forcing the Unprotected™ to get the Protection™ that failed to protect the Protected™.

    Since that is the apparent logic behind what is being said, I can’t blame anyone who thinks the appropriate response is, “Pound sand.”

  8. Well, as the other commenters have said, we can’t get a ‘straight’ answer to any questions. I got the shots because I’m 70. I did get a reaction, and I’ve developed a cough that won’t go away. There ARE side effects/reactions that aren’t, IMHO, ever getting reported or documented.

  9. All you need to know about the vexxines are these simple facts:
    * The disease kills old, sick people. The vexxine kills young, healthy people. Your chance of dying of the vexxine, as compared to the disease, is even at 50-59, double at 40-49, quadruple at 30-39, times ten at 20-29, and times 100 at 19 and under.

    * The government inflates the numbers of dead from the disease, and suppresses the numbers of dead from the vexxine.

    * There exist several very effective treatments for the disease that the government is actively suppressing. (The fact that these treatments are inexpensive is surely a coincidence.)

    * The vexxine does not prevent you from carrying and spreading the disease. It’s not even very good at preventing you from dying of the disease. And it may be making the disease stronger. (Each mutation was become less deadly, as normally happens.)

    * The disease is a blood pathogen masquerading as a cold. The vexxine is actively produces the worst part of the blood pathogen inside your own body for an indefinite period of time.

    * Nobody has any clue what the long term effects of the vexxine are, because in every animal test, 100% of the animals died of the disease or the vexxine.

    * The disease has a mutation half-life of about 6 months, like all other virii of its type. (Fun fact: By the beginning of July 2020, there were already over a dozen known variants.)

    * The disease is already endemic. It is no longer a pandemic. It is here to stay. Everyone will have their chance to catch it every year, forever. Just like every other cold and flu virus.

  10. As an ethicist*, I have not done the full formal evaluation of the proposition that “coercive vaccination is justified under the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic conditions”, but I did sketch the outline of what would probably be a 15 page paper, taking every factor into account I could think of.

    Long story short, I first provisionally accept that threatening people who are established in their employment with termination qualifies as a form of coercion, despite some complications around freedom of contract and trade, as it effectively re-negotiates settled contract under conditions of duress, especially given evidence of cross industry collusion in the matter.

    Next, outside of the special risk circumstances of hospitals and other infectious disease treatment facilities (which evaluates to “probably”, un light of the understanding that vaccination is a known ahead of time as a normal condition of employment for that sector ), coercive vaccination to retain normal employment is generally NOT justified. There are some very tall hurdles that must be passed to justify this, and they simply aren’t passed under these conditions.

    * My qualifications as an ethicist is that I literally wrote the definitive book on the subject of sapient social ethics:

  11. I read your commentary again today and you say that the vaccine reduces the severity and incidence of the disease. I have been unable to find any actual evidence that that is true. Where is the evidence that the vaccine protects one in any way?
    I can find plenty of evidence, from Israel for example, that the infection rate among the vaccinated is quite high with hospitalization and death at the same proportion as among the unvaccinated. I have seen reports out of England that the vaccinated death rate is currently twice that of the unvaccinated. Are these things true? I don’t know, but given what has happened the last 2 years, I don’t automatically discard them.

  12. I posted this elsewhere, but thought I’d share it here as well:

    Very few people are now old enough to remember the Thalidomide scandal. It was to the FDA what the Tenerife disaster was to the FAA, the mass casualty event that caused a major restructuring of how things were done. The repeated testing, the waiting periods, the checking and re-checking, all date to the changes made due to Thalidomide.

    Since the more stringent regulations were put in place back in the 60s, it generally takes longer for the government to concede that a given drug is proven to be both safe and effective.


    In the manufacturer’s early phases of drug discovery (preclinical research) they are synthesizing and screening a drug candidate for toxicity in animals before the medicine moves on to human trials. The sponsor files an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application that details specifics such as chemistry, manufacturing and the initial plans for human testing.

    The IND is reviewed by the FDA to ensure that clinical trials will be safe for humans and that adequate informed consent is included to protect human subjects.

    Once a company develops a drug, it undergoes several years of laboratory testing before a New Drug Application (NDA) is made to the FDA to begin testing the drug in humans.

    *** That’s Phase 0 basically, pre-clinical trials. Quite obviously much of that was bypassed during Operation Warp Speed, specifically the “several years of laboratory testing.”***

    If the FDA gives the green light, the investigational drug will then enter three phases of clinical trials:

    Phase 1: About 20 to 80 healthy volunteers to establish a drug’s safety and profile, and takes about 1 year. Safety, metabolism and excretion of the drug are also emphasized.

    Phase 2: Roughly 100 to 300 patient volunteers to assess the drug’s effectiveness in those with a specific condition or disease. This phase runs about 2 years. Groups of similar patients may receive the actual drug compared to a placebo (inactive pill) or other active drug to determine if the drug has an effect. Safety and side effects are reviewed.

    Phase 3: Typically, several thousand patients are monitored in clinics and hospitals to carefully determine effectiveness and identify further side effects. Different types and age ranges of patients are evaluated. The manufacturer may look at different doses as well as the experimental drug in combination with other treatments. This phase runs about about 3 years on average.

    *** Note that according to the usual timeline for FDA approval, we would be considered as late in Phase 1 or early in phase 2. Please understand, I have no tiniest objection to the shots being made available this early. Adults should be allowed to inform themselves of potential risks of their actions, and choose their responses accordingly.

    However, to mandate the use of a drug when it is still in Phase 1 of the normal process is unconscionable. Further, it is a clear violation of the “adequate informed consent” part of the process. It is also clear that the “safety and side effects are reviewed” aspect of Phase 2 has been completely ignored, and the “in combination with other treatments” aspect, such as hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and low-dose aspirin, has not merely been ignored but actively suppressed.

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