Today, i’m. Talking a little more about the cobit vaccine in my last vaccine related video, i did a deep dive on pfizer’s phase 3 trial and i wanted to do a follow up to address concerns that i’ve heard from a lot of people both online and in person. Interestingly, almost no one with whom i’ve spoken questions the efficacy of the vaccine, which is great because the data supporting the efficacy seems really really solid. All of the concerns are about the vaccine, safety, which is understandable so that’s. What i’m going to focus on addressing specific safety concerns that people have but i’m also going to discuss my experience getting the vaccine as i’ve, received both doses of the pfizer version at this point, so let me jump in with the six most common concerns. I hear from people and because i’m in the u.s and the only vaccines currently available here are the mrna vaccines from physical and moderna that’s. What i’ll be focusing on concern number one: the vaccines can change our dna. Mrna vaccines cannot change your dna and the reason is pretty straightforward. The way that dna and rna work in human cells is that information. It travels in one direction. Only each of our cells, with a few exceptions like red blood cells, which don’t have any dna, has a nucleus containing the dna under the direction of a very complicated process. Enzymes in the nucleus unwind the double stranded helix of dna and make a single strand copy known as rna specifically mrna, where the m stands for messenger in a process called transcription.
The mrna is then transported out of the nucleus into the surrounding cytoplasm, where structures called ribosomes use the information encoded in the rna to synthesize proteins in a process known as translation. These proteins then go on to do all the important work of the cell. So again, dna encodes rna within the nucleus in the process of transcription rna is then translated into proteins within the cytoplasm human cells have no mechanism to convert rna back into dna. The process it can be done artificially in a lab, but our cells don’t contain the necessary enzymes to do this, and neither does the vaccine so thus, these vaccines are not changing. Anyone’S genes, it’s literally impossible for an mrna vaccine to alter our dna concern number two. These vaccines have been rushed to the public too quickly. It is unarguably true that the pfizer and moderna coven vaccines are the fastest vaccines ever to be authorized to be used in the u.s, but that does not mean it was too fast. First, scientists have been working on the mrna technology necessary for these vaccines for at least a decade. In fact, the letters rna in moderna literally stand for the rna in these vaccines because that’s all the company has been working on since its inception in 2010.. The technology was so well developed and ready to go that it supposedly only took days between when these companies received a digital copy of the virus’s genetic sequence and when they had a first version of the vaccine that’s where most of the development time was was saved.
It was not short changing human testing, but rather condensing the research before human trials began actually not condensing it, because it was to be honest, it was already done. The groundwork was already laid, and this is this – is the beauty of the mrna platform for vaccine delivery, and we should expect vaccine development for other newly discovered infectious diseases to be much faster in the future as well. For this reason, but when considering whether the speed of vaccine development was too fast, you know you also have to consider that for the last 12 months, this has been the overwhelming priority of scientists from around the world. Never in history has there ever been anything remotely close to the intense concentrated scientific effort to solve this one problem and also consider that there were well over 100 different companies working on vaccine candidates, and you know like if you look at the vaccine production as like. A race or vaccine development as a race, you know like with any race the more runners who are in it, the faster the fastest time is likely to be. You know you don’t, hear anything at all about the 90 plus pharmaceutical companies who have hit major roadblocks with their approaches. You’Ve only heard about the small handful that have had major successes, the next concern the vaccine has killed people. This may or may not be true, but at most the vaccine has killed one person so far in the u.
s. There have been several stories circulating on the internet about this since december, most notably one claiming that clinical trial participants had died from the vaccine, which is flat out untrue and which i briefly talked about in my last vaccine video. There was also a story involving a nurse who supposedly died on live tv immediately after receiving it. These stories have been investigated and all are false. The nurse who was televised, you know she did pass out on tv. I mean we could see that, but she quickly recovered off camera and she later reported that she has a tendency to pass out in general, most likely from something called vasovagal syncope, which is the same problem that triggers people to pass out when they’re getting the blood Drawn now there has been a more recently reported case of a florida physician who died 16 days after his first vaccination, from a condition known as itp, in which your own immune system attacks your own platelets, leading to hemorrhage itp, has previously been identified as a potential Serious but very rare side effect with other vaccines, so this isn’t shocking to hear, but i wouldn’t be worried about it personally. First, over nine million americans have received one of the two mrna vaccines so far, and rare diseases sometimes strike otherwise healthy people. Out of the blue for no apparent reason as more and more people are vaccinated, some very small number will develop a problem in the weeks after vaccination by pure chance alone.
You know just like someone can be struck by lightning while walking home from getting the vaccine. It wasn’t the vaccine that did that it was just a freak accident. Was the florida physician’s death, just awful luck and coincidental timing, or was it a vaccine side effect? I don’t know we probably won’t ever know for certain, but even if it definitely was from the vaccine as tragic and as awful, the death is that’s still just one fatality out of nine million vaccine administrations. That is orders of magnitude safer than almost all other medical interventions that we do. You know when a doctor gives you amoxicillin for a strep throat that amoxicillin carries a greater risk of death than one in nine million, even among young, healthy people. The risks of dying from a coveted infection is thousands of times higher than 1 in 9 million, but haven’t there been severe allergic reactions. Yes, there have been a very small number of patients who have had anaphylaxis to the vaccine, but some context is needed. The vaccine adverse event reporting system identified 21 cases in the u.s. Among the first 1.9 million doses, given for a risk of around 1 in 90 thousand, none of those cases were fatal. The majority occurred within 15 minutes of vaccine administration. Anaphylaxis is very easily treated when occurring in a medical setting like a clinic hospital or pharmacy and anaphylaxis is, of course not unique to the coveted vaccine. As most people know, it happens with other vaccines, it happens with foods and with medications, including things that are over.
The counter now don’t get me wrong. One in ninety thousand is not negligible from a population standpoint and the cdc should be recording and investigating these cases, and they are doing that. However, as far as individual risk goes, it’s still really small for something for which patients can be easily monitored, easily treated and which, in the circumstance has not yet been fatal. The cdc is still recommending vaccinating individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to other things, but they do suggest they be observed for 30 minutes post vaccination rather than the conventional 15 minutes. It would be appropriate for anyone. Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to anything at all to discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine with their own physician aren’t there, health care professionals declining the vaccine. Yes, there are vaccine, hesitant medical professionals two to three months ago. It was completely understandable and, i would say, even appropriate. The vaccine had been very politicized, at least here in the u.s, and this was before we had any short term safety data. But following our november election, the politicians have greatly toned down their rhetoric about the vaccine and most have stopped talking about it altogether, and now we have multiple lines of evidence overwhelmingly supporting its short term safety. At this point, i don’t personally know of a single physician who has declined the vaccine. In fact, a month ago, when the interns and residents of our hospital were told, they would not be eligible to receive the vaccine in the first few days of its availability.
They were so angry at having the vaccine not offered to them that they staged a highly visible middle of the day. Protest that got national news coverage. You know healthcare professionals. Yes, there are some that are hesitant to get it, but the overwhelming majority are definitely wanting it and most have received it already and last the most commonly cited concern. We don’t yet know the long term side effects of the vaccine. Covid is the first disease for which mrna vaccines have been used in humans and as of january 2021, we only have safety data for several months. Can i tell you with precisely 100.000 certainty that there are no delayed side effects or toxicities of the virus to worry about? No obviously i can’t tell you that, because the vaccine is new but here’s what i can tell you, i am confident that the risks of long term effects is small enough to not come close to changing my decision to be vaccinated and here’s. Why delayed side effects from vaccines in general, that is side effects that only become apparent more than one to two months after administration are profoundly rare sure the mrna vaccines are a new technology, and with that, maybe there will be some issue that will show up that. We can’t predict, i will not say it’s impossible, but here’s. The bottom line. We are weighing the small risk of a potential unidentified delayed vaccine side effect against the very real, significant and known risk of catching a potentially fatal disease.
Even if 99 percent of people infected with covid survive, many are sick for weeks, some for even longer, and we are still trying to understand the long term effects of covid, which could include everything from chronic lung disease to chronic fatigue syndrome, to permanent alterations in taste And smell, meanwhile, overall vaccines are essentially the safest medical intervention we give to people, they are safer than antibiotics and high blood pressure medications. Vaccines are far safer than blood transfusions and they are far far safer than even the most routine of surgeries or procedures. Like screening. Colonoscopies, in fact, i’d say there’s, probably never been a medical therapy authorized or approved for use in the u.s that has as much data about safety at the time of authorization or approval than the pfizer and modern vaccines do. And even though the vaccines have already been authorized by the fda, the cdc still monitors for and investigates any subsequent adverse events so it’s not like it gets approved and suddenly everyone’s like oh okay. I guess we don’t need to worry about it anymore, they’re still looking into these things. So, by the time the vaccine is available to the general public we’ll have even more months of safety data to be that much more reassured overall, while i can’t say with a 100 certainty that there are no delayed side effects from the vaccine, i can say, with 100 certainty that if delayed side effects do exist, they will not be as bad as catching covid, which is why i chose to be vaccinated on the very first day.
It was available to me so at this point i am one week past, my second vaccine dose. So i thought i’d talk briefly about my personal experience with it, and you know keep in mind that the experience of just one person is just an anecdote. It does not necessarily mean that another person’s experience with a vaccine will be the same, and, despite my assurances that the vaccine is safe, it also does not mean that it’s without immediate side effects, because most people do experience something. The first dose in my shoulder initially went fine, it was, you know the tiniest the pinches i weighed in observation area for 15 minutes afterwards to make sure i didn’t get anaphylaxis and i felt fine and then i was allowed to return to work. By coincidence, i got the vaccine on my last day of a seven day stretch in the hospital which was kind of lucky because about eight hours afterwards, my shoulder got really sore um worse than with the annual flu vaccine, which i know i expected because it was Reported in the phase three trial data the next day, i got a headache and i felt you know kind of unusually tired. I would not have been excited to go to work that day. If i was scheduled to work, you know how much of that was from the vaccine versus having just worked seven ten to twelve hour days in a row. You know i don’t know over certain, but i suspect it was the vaccine and within 48 hours, though i was back to normal, then precisely three weeks after the first dose, i got the second dose.
My arm got equally sore, but i overall felt just a little bit worse. The second time around i even got chills a couple of times. You know i spent the most of the following day. To be honest, i spent most of the day in bed um. I even got myself tested for covid, since covett can present with fatigue, headache and chills, and you know i had been seeing a lot of covet patients. Luckily, though, it was negative and then once again, 48 or maybe closer to 60 hours later i felt totally back to normal and to be honest in some ways i actually felt better than normal, because i know that i am now relatively protected. You know not completely protected. The vaccine is estimated to be 95 effective, not 100, but 95 is still fantastic for a vaccine. Now, as long as our community prevalence is still really high, though i i still need to wear a mask and my university still mandates weekly asymptomatic, covet screening and you know i’ll admit weekly asymptomatic screening is a little annoying, but i understand it and at least for Now, i think, it’s an appropriate thing to ask of us so feeling lousy for two days. Yes, that kind of sucks, but it is so totally worth it to be. You know relatively protected against getting covet and keep in mind that if you get a fever or feel a little sluggish after vaccination, that’s, not necessarily a bad thing, because it’s evidence that the vaccine has triggered your immune system.
Just like it’s designed to do before. I go i’m going to end with a slightly different approach to encouraging everyone watching to be vaccinated as soon as it’s available to you. You know we are all frustrated by this pandemic and, irrespective of who you personally blame for it, and whether you think, restrictions on activities, shopping and dining are justified, whether or not schools should be open or closed, and whether mass should be mandatory in public places. Regardless of how you feel about all that, the fastest way to get back to normal is to get the community prevalence down and to keep it down the most effective way to do that is with mass vaccinations of the population. Yes, social distancing and masks definitely help, but those interventions they’re not going to go away until one of two things happen either. Another 100 million plus americans get infected with an additional million deaths on the way to achieving natural herd immunity or we get a majority of this country vaccinated. Those are the two options on the table now i know that getting vaccinated is often seen as a personal choice, and you know relatively few people want to impose that personal choice on others, but, to be honest, i see getting vaccinated as a patriotic act. It’S not just about protecting ourselves in our immediate family, but it protects our neighbors and our community. It will allow schools and businesses to reopen – and you know, it’s, going to speed economic recovery for the entire country, so in short, the sooner we all get vaccinated.
The sooner gets back to normal it’s, really as simple as that and with the last appeal to patriotism i’m, going to ask one more thing from everyone here, at least in the in the u.s that is, for this upcoming week in particular, stay safe and stay peaceful Violence at this point, violence is benefiting no one, but the politicians encouraging it the better times for our country. They lay ahead, but fighting covid will be so much more difficult if we are diverting attention and energy to fighting ourselves that’s.