A viral blog post is going around that lists 18 reasons explaining why someone should not get the COVID19 vaccine. This post was peppered with fear and, more damaging, misinformation, which is causing anxiety, confusion, and vaccine hesitancy in the community.
It’s clear the author doesn’t have a good grasp on the science. The author calls himself a “natural health nerd” blogger. From what I can find, he is not an epidemiologist, not a healthcare provider, not public health specialist, not an immunologist, and not anything that qualifies him to speak accurately on this topic.
So, I thought I would set the record straight…
1. VACCINE MAKERS ARE IMMUNE FROM LIABILITY
This is true. Vaccine sponsors (like Pfizer or Moderna) are immune from liability in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck in the small, small chance that something might happen. We have systems in place for this, like the Department of Health and Human Services' Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) or the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP; but this doesn’t cover FDA emergency authorizations). A great place for more information about all here.
2. THE CHECKERED PAST OF THE VACCINE COMPANIES
I guess this is true. But most companies have a checkered past? But we have checks and balances for this in our vaccination system. For example, this is why we have a separate data and safety monitoring board (called DSMB) for every study (not just vaccines), or an external committee of scientists for the FDA (like here) or an external committee of scientists for the CDC (called the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices- you can go here for more info) . And we have seen during this pandemic that those checks and balances WORK! See here as an example.
3. THE UGLY HISTORY OF ATTEMPTS TO MAKE CORONAVIRUS VACCINES
What? There is no ugly history. It’s actually amazing to hear about the amount of innovation, and genius, and hard work that has gone behind making these vaccines. The work started in 2003. You can read about why this vaccine was NOT rushed here.
#4: THE "DATA GAPS" SUBMITTED TO THE FDA BY THE VACCINE MAKERS
He specifically called out these groups. His argument is sometimes true but sometimes not true for…
Anyone younger than age 18: This is true for Moderna and J&J. This is not true for Pfizer (ages 16-18). The Pfizer adolescent trial is up for emergency authorization now (see data here). Moderna’s adolescent trial data should be coming in the next month or two.
Anyone older than age 55: This is just plain false. We have lots of clinical trial data on this. In fact, the vaccines sometimes work BETTER among this group than younger populations.
Pregnant or lactating mothers: This is true, pregnant or lactating mothers were not eligible to participate in the clinical trials. But we do have quite a bit of safety data on this group already (see here). And multiple professional organizations, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have consistently stated that the benefits of a vaccine outweigh the risks.
Auto-immune conditions: This is not true. There is data from the clinical trial. We just don’t have a lot, so people with these conditions need to consult with their healthcare providers.
Immunocompromised individuals: Again not true. There is data in there. We just don’t have a lot, so people with these conditions need to consult with their healthcare providers.
No data on transmission of covid: Moderna had data on this in their clinical trial. Pfizer and J&J did not. But we have it now (see here).
No data on preventing mortality from covid: This is false. This was the whole point of the clinical trials…? And no one died from the vaccine.
No data on duration of protection from covid. This is false. We have up to 6 months now. But that’s because we only have 6 months worth of data. From our understanding of COVID19 cousins, we think this protection lasts 1-2 years. We also understand the science behind these vaccines very well and are not worried about long term effects (see more here)
#5: NO ACCESS TO THE RAW DATA FROM THE TRIALS
Depends how you define raw data. There are 180 pages of data in the FDA documents, which you can find here (J&J), here (Moderna), or here (Pfizer). If you want the line by line data (what us epidemiologists would call raw data) you’re right… this is not available. But, this is rarely publicly available for any study. Also, you’re not an epidemiologist or scientist, so what would you do with this raw data if you can’t analyze it correctly?
#6: NO LONG-TERM SAFETY TESTING
This is true. But we have no reason to think this would be a problem from what we know from the science. This biotechnology has been in development for decades. See why we aren’t necessarily worried here.
#7: NO INFORMED CONSENT
This is just plain false. If you are in an RCT (or any research study at that) you have to read a 15-page informed consent document. You are usually walked through this document too and are clearly asked if you have questions. THEN you have to sign up. This is an informed consent. Plain and simple. Just ask any of the more than 200,000 Americans in COVID19 vaccine trials right now.
#8: UNDER-REPORTING OF ADVERSE REACTIONS AND DEATH
There has never been another drug, in the history of drugs, that the CDC has been more transparent about adverse side effects and death investigations than these COVID19 drugs. It’s absolutely fantastic how much they’re monitoring and sharing on a regular basis. And I’ve bee updating you all on these meetings, in which they provide this data. If you aren’t convinced, search my blog. I’ve talked about this safety data way too much to list all the posts. You can start here or here or here.
#9: THE VACCINES DO NOT STOP TRANSMISSION OR INFECTION
This is just plain wrong. Yes vaccines stop transmission. We have over 10 studies that show this now. The question, now, is how MUCH does it stop transmission? We are seeing anywhere between 70-95%. I’ve also been updating on a regular basis, and you can see the numbers in my latest vaccine table.
#10: PEOPLE ARE CATCHING COVID AFTER BEING FULLY VACCINATED
This is correct. Vaccines take a while to work (2 weeks after the second dose). So, yes you can get COVID19 during that time because you’re not protected from the vaccine yet.
#11: THE OVERALL DEATH RATE FROM COVID
First off, this is NOT true for specific populations. If you’re going to spread this stat, please at least get the number right. Second, death isn’t the only outcome. Period. There isn’t one body system that COVID19 hasn’t left a mark. Third, if this WAS true (which it isn’t), 1% of 330,000,000 is a lot of death. See here for more details about this very argument.
#12: THE BLOATED COVID DEATH NUMBERS
It’s just not true. I wish we had more faith in our medical doctors and medical examiners to classify death. Just look at the excess death numbers. COVID19 is the third leading cause of death in the United States. See here for a whole post about it.
#13: FAUCI AND SIX OTHERS AT NIAID OWN PATENTS IN THE MODERNA VACCINE
Okay? Why does this matter? None of these people are on the independent safety review board for safety and data integrity for the vaccines.
#14: FAUCI IS ON THE HOT SEAT FOR ILLEGAL GAIN-OF-FUNCTION RESEARCH
Again, doesn’t matter. Stop targeting this man.
#15: THE VIRUS CONTINUES TO MUTATE
Yes…but the vaccines continue to work. Vaccines are the only thing protecting us right now against variants.
#16: CENSORSHIP...AND THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF SCIENTIFIC DEBATE
Absence of scientific debate? This guy needs to get outside of his echo chamber. There has been nothing but scientific debate during the entire pandemic. See any of my posts from the past year that describe this.
#17: THE WORLD'S LEADING VACCINOLOGIST IS SOUNDING THE ALARM...
This “leading vaccinologist” worth another misinformation post in and of itself. Maybe I will do that next.
#18: I ALREADY HAD COVID
Doesn’t matter if you already had COVID19. We don’t know how much natural protection helps and, more importantly, who or when it helps. Protection weans especially for the milder or asymptomatic cases. Also, we have seen very recently that the antibody response is stronger for those with vaccines (when compared to “natural” infection).
That’s it. Hope that helps clear the air!
Also, the author says in the beginning of his blog post: “I am more than happy to correspond with you if you are respectful, genuinely thoughtful, and logic” SO, if anyone knows this dude, I would love to set up a live debate with him.