Thursday, December 10, 2020
Covid 19 Vaccine update.Dec2020
We have been fielding a lot of inquiries about covid vaccine and vaccination. Concepts surrounding it are often misunderstood and misrepresented. The Pfizzer product selected in Canada is a new technology which has been rushed to market for numerous reasons. This will be our first experience with this technology. It essentially takes a small particle of messenger RNA which codes for the Coronavirus spike protein, and presents it to our cells, which in turn trigger a lasting immune response to be produced. It is extremely fragile, and gets destroyed easily, so researchers put it into a fatty nano bubble to allow entry into our cells. This is also why it has to stay frozen at -70C until ready to use. The minute it comes out of the freezer, assuming anyone has one these very expensive things, and gets fluid added for injection, it starts to fall apart and becomes denatured and non effective within 6 hours. Doctors offices and even our health departments dont have these special freezers. A second injection is also needed 3-4 weeks later to boost any response. The rush to market did not include children so that data is absent. There is no advantage or role for costly testing before any injections. It just adds to our financial disaster. Previous infection does not seem to matter either. Other vaccines with different ways of approaching the problem are about to emerg as well.
One worrisome concept is that politicians, some doctors and most news media mistake the concept of efficay with effectiveness. They are far from being the same. There is no basis in the claim that it is 97 % effective. You need to understand some of the science behind it. In developing a covid vaccine, any given company will run a "clinical trial". The details of the Pfizzer trial are not released until an application for liscencing occurrs. That process involves a group of scientists looking at and tearing the data apart. So how does testing occurr? You basically find one or more groups of people around the globe, choose 30,000 candidates and give half your test vaccine and placebo to the rest. In an ideal situation, you would expose everyone to covid, but that is unethical. Instead, you then wait and test for natural infection to occurr. In the Pfizzer trial, less than 1% of volunteers eventually tested positive. So these 200 people become your study group. Immense work for small numbers. It turns out both vaccine and placebo groups developed covid infections, but much less so in the vaccinated group. You then apply statistical magic and come up with an "efficacy" value, which reflects the results in that group. How similar are your vaccine and placebo groups is always a burning question. This is vastly simplified and things are much different in the real world. Based on these findings, it was determined that there is benefit to the 1st generation of liscened vaccine. It is a bit of a stretch to claim it will fully protect anyone or cure the pandemic. The notion of issuing cards to vaccinated people and somehow implying that they are free of any worry, is rather misguided in my view. Longer term side effects will emerge and require evalution. Because vaccine manufacturers take large financial risks and hope to attain enormous financial gains. there are other pressures at stake. Pfizzer and others started large scale production before final studies were completed, so that they could have the millions of doses available for sale upon successful liscencing. Its a business strategy. Countries which first approve use, get to buy it sooner and receive delivery. As with other vaccines, refinements will be made and newer vaccines will probably emerg. There is a great deal of speculation of how to get this product successfully into arms of masses. I too await a practical solution. So stay tuned as the first sleeve roll up begin somewhere. It will take over a year or more to determine if this strategy was highly effective or marginally so. Historicly, mankind seems predisposed to often claim credit for mother natures work. If it is like the influenza data, it will be a maze of numbers with inferences and exceptions. Lets try to stay positive!