Vaccination Day

Young girl about to receive a vaccine in her upper arm (48545990252).jpg

I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I will confess to being a vaccine skeptic, at least where the various COVID-19 vaccinations are involved. Despite that, I’ll be getting my first shot today.

To say I do so against my better judgement is perhaps putting it too strong. I have weighed the options, looked at the information and decided to go ahead with the shot. But I do have serious concerns about the nature of this vaccine and the speed in which it was developed. The risk is high, but I have decided that for me it is acceptable.

Until COVID, no mRNA vaccine had ever received approval by the various health agencies. I haven’t been able to discern exactly why, though I will admit I haven’t spent much time looking for that information. Seems like it is a moot point, no matter how relevant. This type of vaccine is all that is on offer at the moment.

Fact is, all the vaccines being used are still unapproved. The shots are being given under emergency authorization. Medical experts could still discover problems that would make it unwise to use any of the vaccines in the future. That is not alarmist, just a statement of fact.

In Canada, for example, the AstraZeneca vaccine was in wide use, then put on hold when it was linked to major health issues. Then it was allowed again, but only for those who had already had a first AstraZeneca shot. On Thursday that advice changed again, with the vaccine now being effectively banned. Not surprising for a drug that has been linked to life-threatening blood clots.

If there were no alternatives, people might gamble the AstraZeneca shot wouldn’t kill them. But there are alternatives. I’m just not sure they are any better in the long run. Sceince can’t tell me.

It has been suggested mRNA vaccines, like the one I am about to receive today, can have major long-term detrimental effEcts on a person’s autoimmune system. By the time you discover that, it may be too late. Because the vaccines were rushed with a compressed test time, we don’t know yet if that will be a common or rare problem. We just know it is a possibility.

There are conspiracy theorists spouting wildly about the vaccines. Unfortunately, most of what they say makes no sense to me, and there seems to be no evidence to back up their theories. i don’t trust government, or Big Pharma, but I know how difficult it is to organize a successful conspiracy. Canadian politicians frequently can’t seem to figure out how to unmute Zoom. Can you see them as being part of a global conspiracy?

Which doesn’t mean the vaccines are as safe as the government is telling me. Given this government’s track record, and the shifting information it has provided during the pandemic, hey almost certainly aren’t. 

So why am I getting vaccinated today? Good question. I’m not sure I have a good answer.

When the vaccines were first announced, I said I wanted to wait at least six months before getting the shot, to see if there were any adverse effects. Six months has gone by, and, given that I couldn’t get the vaccine in Germany, today is actually the first possible date I could have been vaccinated.

I know a lot of people who have had bad reactions to their vaccinations, but nothing permanent, so far. I know there are concerns about the longer term, but those experts could be just as wrong as the government experts have been to date. Bottom line is, there is really no-one I trust completely on this.

I had thought about waiting for the Novavax vaccine, which uses traditional vaccine technology, but that seems months away from approval. And I’m not sure I want to wait months. I want to travel. It looks like vaccinations are going to be a new requirement, just like going through a scanner at the airport.

So essentially I’m taking a gamble. Perhaps a better informed one than those who are so happy for a vaccine that they just bared their arms, no questions asked, but it is still a gamble. If I am wrong I will have to live with the consequences.

I won’t be the only one.

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