COVID-19 Vaccination. Listen to what the scientists and doctors are saying, not influencers and singers. Here is a post to combat some misinformation.

There is a lot of misinformation and concern around the vaccine. Especially in the Lebanese society where misinformation tends to take root quickly, as people believe what they hear even when it's second, third, fourth...hand knowledge with no particular science backing it up. Of course this is not an issue that Lebanese suffer from alone, but unlike other countries were the governments actively try to combat misinformation our does not, if anything the media has been feeding into it. So, today this article aims to provide information, debunk certain misinformation, and provide insight on the validity or invalidity of certain concerns around the vaccine.

I would like to start by establishing my credibility, I am a published scientific author in the realms of Human Behavior, Engineering, Public Policy, and Public Health. Additionally, I published a paper that tackles COVID-19 lockdowns and how they should be applied while a vaccine is being developed/deployed. I have closely monitored the production and approval of the vaccine. My aim is not to support one vaccine over the other, I am not paid by any of the vaccine companies and stand to make no monetary benefit. However, I want to advocate for vaccination as a whole.

Information about the vaccines:

  • There are currently 60 vaccines in clinical development and 172 in pre-clinical development
    • Clinical means they have begun the rounds of tests, usually referred to as Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III. The vaccines are not a secret and a breakdown of them, the trials, phases, and statistics can be found here. While pre-clinical simply indicates that they are still in the lab being tested & developed.
  • The vaccines that have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)\) approval are Pfizer & Moderna, yes these are two separate vaccines. Both of which passed a panel of experts with a unanimous vote of approval. So what is the difference?
    • Mainly logistics, Moderna requires -20 Celsius while Pfizer requires -75 Celsius. Making transporting and storing Moderna much easier.
    • There is also 95% efficacy for Moderna, while 90% for Pfizer.
  • The US's FDA is not the only government/governmental organization that has approved both vaccines. Canada, UK, European Union (EU-29, Incl. Switzerland and other non-member states), Japan, and South Korea have all approved and purchased the vaccines.
  • The vaccine will be rolled out to high risk individuals first and front line workers. If you are in the 18-45 age bracket with no heart, blood, or immuno-suppressing disease, you are likely to be the last to receive the vaccine.
  • Pfizer's vaccine was tested on over 44,000 people and found to be effective regardless of age, race, and ethnicity demographics. You can read more about this particular vaccine here.

Debunking Misinformation:

  • The vaccine was fabricated way too fast!
    • There are so many factors that accelerated the traditionally slow process, I will name a few:
      • Funding: So much private and public funds were poured into the fabrication of a vaccine, in fact almost all middle-income and high-income countries had pre-ordered/pre-purchased vaccines and/or pledges to purchase that also boosted the available funds considerably.
      • Collaboration: Notice that whenever anyone says Pfizer, they also mention BioNTech, while they are under the same umbrella, they are two separate entities with a vast amount of funds and manpower under their fingertips. This gave them the ability to work simultaneously on a large pool of volunteer test subjects.
      • Fabrication Process: The world has not needed a new vaccine for a long while. As such we have not seen the fabrication of an entirely new vaccine for an equally long while. However, this does not mean that the technology and process behind fabrication has remained the same. Pfizer in particularly adopted a very common method of extract the genetic data from the virus and slotting it into regularly used delivery mechanism. How regularly used? It's similar to your quarterly flu-shot, well not similar more like identical.
  • Why did it get approved so fast?
    • While its approval was fast, it was not because of relaxed measures, but instead the removal of beuracratic bullshit that usually slowed the process entirely. The vaccine still went through all the process and was actually extremely well tested. Think about it this way, would the US approve of so many vaccines only to kill half of it's population from it?

Valid and Invalid Concerns about the virus:

  • Side effects! [Invalid]
    • By the time you get to take the vaccine, it's likely that several thousands would have already taken it. So no need to worry just yet.
    • There are side effects with just about any medication, but you know what's the side effect of COVID-19? Death.
  • Well, what if I do not want to take the vaccine? [Invalid]
    • We need around 80-85% of the population to be vaccinated to have sustained herd immunity. By that I mean we would all be able to protect those who cannot take the vaccine. If you can take the vaccine you should, because you will be protecting Jad who is a 5 year old cancer patient that would die within 2-3 days if he caught COVID-19. You should take the vaccine if you would like to have your grandparents/parents around longer. Eventually, you should take the vaccine if you would like to travel, as it is highly likely to become a requirement for travel.
  • What if I am pregnant? [Valid]
    • Again, there are not a lot of cases were the vaccines were tested on pregnant women, even on kids there is small and sporadic data. However, it is safe to assume that by the time the vaccine is to be administered to your age bracket, we would have seen more cases of pregnant women vaccination.

In the end there are a lot more things to tackle and discuss, I cannot begin to even cover all of it in this post, but please if you have questions. I will continue to provide answers on this post, indefinitely.

Let's combat misinformation and get vaccinated together.

Extra Sources:

More Information:

*Pfizer currently has a emergency use authorization (EUA). A direct quote from the FDA is "The EUA process is different than an FDA approval or clearance. Under an EUA, in an emergency, the FDA makes a product available to the public based on the best available evidence, without waiting for all the evidence that would be needed for FDA approval or clearance." - that is to say that, yes they do not have full FDA approval. However, per the update revision of the authorization, FDA has made it clear that there is strong evidence that the vaccine is effective and would receive full FDA approval.

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