WHAT ABOUT THE COVID VACCINE
One of the most frequent questions I have been asked recently is what about the Covid Vaccine? Here are my thoughts.
It is amazing we have a Covid Vaccine. It is nothing short of a miracle that President Trump and his team were able to move the bureaucracy, so that it was possible for companies to develop a vaccine in such a short period of time. It is a shame that in all of the media hatred towards President Trump, he has not been given the credit he deserves.
Covid is a serious disease. In the United States alone, millions have been sickened by it, many of these very sick and hundreds of thousands have died from it. As I write this article, it is clear that we are again having a major increase in cases. You would have to be blind and deaf to not realize Covid has had a serious impact on the health of our society and it continues to sicken and kill. We are not going to beat Covid or eliminate Covid. Covid is now a permanent part of the pathogens which can infect human beings.
In my opinion, the vaccine is the only effective means we have to protect people from getting Covid. Masks are next to worthless. Lockdowns may have slowed the transmission of Covid, but I do not believe lockdowns changed the endpoint and in the process have caused incredible harm. This virus will eventually infect every individual, who is susceptible.
Despite the fact that I am thankful for the vaccines and I believe they are beneficial, I am really struggling with where we are at with the vaccines. I am so sickened by how our public officials and the media are lying to us and treating people like they are morons. When the vaccines were first released they were touted as being 94-96% protective against getting Covid. It didn’t take long for that claim to be proven false, but they never admitted being overly promising. They simply changed the 94-96% effectiveness to protective against hospitalization and now critically ill and dying. How long will that moved goal post last?
The matter of adverse reactions to the vaccine is exceedingly troubling. There have been many thousands of adverse events in close proximity to people being given the vaccine. At best, one is miserable for a day or two after the vaccine. More serious reactions range from people getting seriously ill to dying. Granted, some of these adverse events have nothing to do with the vaccine, but there are far too many to pretend, as our science authorities do, that it is ridiculous to be afraid of the adverse reactions caused by the vaccines.
Part of the problem here is under normal conditions, when a pharmaceutical company is developing a drug, the federal government is constantly double checking (most of the time excessively) to make sure the drug produced is safe and effective. When it comes to the Covid vaccine, the federal government is spending billions to pay the pharmaceutical companies to make these vaccines. No neutral party is monitoring for safety and efficacy.
Any other drug that had even a fraction of the adverse reactions the Covid vaccines have had, would have been pulled off the market. I am not advocating the Covid vaccines be pulled, just for an honest discussion of the risks. The refusal of the CDC and FDA to admit adverse reactions are occurring, makes one wonder what they are hiding.
Then there is the totally inconsistent and constantly changing guidance that is flying around. There is a huge push to get everyone vaccinated with this 95% effective vaccine, but one still has to wear a mask. This makes no sense. IF the vaccine works, why do you still have to wear a mask, once vaccinated. Since this position was absurd, they came up with the idea that while the vaccine protected you from getting sick, you can still spread the virus. This makes even less sense. If the vaccine protects, why do the vaccinated fear those who are not vaccinated or not wearing a mask. Does the vaccine work or not?
When I was in training, one of the cornerstones of medical ethics was Informed Consent and Medical Authoritarianism was viewed as a bad thing. Each individual had the right to review the risks and benefits of a given treatment decision and decide what was best for them. This has clearly been thrown out the window. The view today is that the population at large is too stupid to make their own risk/benefit analysis and come to a decision. Our behavior has to be dictated by the enlightened who hold power and if we do not acquiesce to their viewpoint we will not be able to travel, socialize, shop, go to school, express opinions or even earn a living. This is really scary stuff, because it is not limited to only a Covid vaccine.
What is my opinion on getting the vaccine? I think the Authoritarianism in this once free country is out of control. I think people should be given ALL of the facts and be allowed to make their own decision. If the vaccine is effective (as claimed), then the vaccinated have nothing to fear from the unvaccinated and all of these mandates and name calling are nothing more than one group of people forcing their view on another group of people.
From a purely medical standpoint, I think the vaccines have some risks, but the disease cannot be escaped and the risks to adults from Covid are much greater than the risks of the vaccine. In those who have had the disease, I think it is much less clear cut. Clearly having had the disease does impart some protection, but we are definitely starting to see people with their 2nd go round of Covid and in some, the 2nd time is worse than the first. Therefore, on balance it is probably best, even for those who have had Covid, to get the vaccine. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any literature that is definitive in showing the prior infected have increased protection by getting the vaccine. I will admit, I am personally having a hard time saying I want to deliberately make myself sick with a vaccine that might or might not give me more protection. In the case of children, it is even more difficult. As far as I know, healthy kids, while they can get sick, are not dying from Covid. This makes it very difficult to recommend children get a vaccine that clearly has risk associated with it, to protect them from something that is not going to kill them.
Needless to say, Covid has been an extremely difficult time for the world. My heart goes out to all of the countless number of people who have lost loved ones to this horrible disease. I ache for all of those sick with Covid, who have had to suffer alone and even die without a last hug and kiss from those they love.
From prevention to the treatment of Covid, we are all going to have different ideas. I have put out my thoughts and each of you should be entitled to have and act upon your own conclusions.
Keith Stafford, MD
P.S. I had written this article and was ready to publish it when the President announced we are all going to need Covid Vaccine boosters at 8 months. Since then, he has lowered the interval to 5 months. This means the vaccine is no more effective than getting the disease itself. If the vaccines are no more effective than what is being said most recently, they had better get back to the drawing board and come up with therapeutics that are far more effective than what is currently being used in our hospitals. No one, even the strongest advocates for the vaccine, is going to want to run this gauntlet every few months.