Author’s note: You can read the expanded and updated version here.
- The study populations for all of the trials of the major vaccine candidates consisted of healthy 22–44 year olds (might be 18–44 year olds as I could not get confirmation of the low end). This was intentional because they were unsure how serious the side effects might be, and did not want to put already at risk individuals at further risk. That is fine and makes sense but unfortunately it distorts the data as that particular population is already at a much reduced risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19. It might protect already healthy young adults from progressing to the serious forms of the disease, but it is possible or even probable that would have been the case even if they were not vaccinated. This also distorts the reports of adverse side effects (see #2 below). Also, the fine details of the study design have not been released (at least not in a place I can find them). This is always worrisome and suggests a lack of confidence in said design. If those details are released, look closely at how the various placebo and control and treatment groups were assigned and look closely at the numbers required in order for any effect to be considered significant. Then compare those numbers with what have been used in previous vaccine trials. If you see big differences that is a problem and suggests a “loosening” of the “rules.” Those rules are in place for a reason, they are not just made up. Loosening them is the same as breaking them. It calls into question all of the data and the interpretation of the results if this was done. I am not suggesting this is the case and have no knowledge either way, but I am personally concerned by the lack of transparency we have seen to date. FDA has used its authority under the EUA program to relax rules in many areas of research and product development related to Covid-19. In my view they have done so mostly correctly, however, a diagnostic test and a vaccine are two entirely different things.
- Adverse side effects. All of the trials reported adverse effects. None were noted as “serious” but the definition of a serious effect typically means one that requires hospitalization. There are no details I could find as to exact numbers but it has been reported (nowhere officially that I could find, but definitely ‘reported’ somewhere) that persons (how many is not known or has not been published, at least that I have seen or could find) receiving these vaccines did become ill, many very seriously, and some were bedridden for days or weeks. There may be under or unreported neurological effects as well. These could be very problematic in the medium to long term. Bottom line here is we do not know how impactful it will be to a persons medium or long term health to become ill from one of these vaccines. Which brings me to my final and most important point.
- SARS-CoV-2 carriage and transmission by vaccinated individuals has now been reported (this was also only reported in a vaguely worded press release) for all of the major vaccine candidate trials. If you get one of these vaccines you may be protected (may be) but you can still get all of your loved ones sick and potentially kill them by exposing them to virus you may still carry and shed. This is made extra problematic because vaccinated individuals will tend to think they are “safe” or “bulletproof” and will for sure act like idiots in terms of their behaviors. They will be ideal disease spreaders.
My overall summary is that what we have here are a group of vaccines that have been shown (maybe, the data has still not been officially published anywhere to my knowledge, but only presented to a small select audience of infectious disease specialists) to keep already healthy young adults from progressing to serious forms of the disease, but which still allows for these individuals to be active carriers of SARS-CoV-2, and able to transmit the virus to others who are not vaccinated, and possibly even others who are vaccinated. These vaccines will absolutely make some of those who receive them sick in the short term and possible much more sick in the medium to long term. For these three reasons plus my own (hypothetical) concerns about the use of whole spike protein as a vaccine target I cannot endorse the current vaccines, will not accept a vaccination with one of them, and am counseling the same to all my friends and loved ones.
This should not be taken in any way as some sort of anti-vaxxer stance, and is in no way motivated by a distrust of “big pharma” or whatever other conspiracy theory the anti-vaxx crowd is currently spouting. I happen to believe all of the researchers involved in this work genuinely believe that the vaccines they have developed will on balance do more good than harm. Also, I am a huge believer in the power and utility of vaccines in general and a big proponent of their use. If anything I think the US is way too restrictive in its stance on access to certain vaccines that are widely available, safe, and commonly used overseas. When correctly developed, their effectiveness in eradicating and controlling disease cannot be called into question. Moreover, it should be made clear, if it hasn’t already, they have all of the information in front of them. All I have are vague “reports” and second or third hand information. They have seen all the data, I have not. But, really what it boils down to for myself, is that very point, I have not, and why exactly is that?